lifestyle

The unbelievable demands and complaints made by parents in Japan

44 Comments
By Preston Phro

"Monster parents" aren’t anything new in Japan – the complaints by and about overbearing, demanding mothers and fathers have been on the increase for nearly a decade. But thanks to a report by the Fuji TV program "Nonstop," the issue has catapulted squarely back into the public conscious.

The show posted some of the crazier complaints allegedly made by these loudmouthed parents to schools and their kids’ teachers, sparking angry and bewildered comments online. We’ve collected some of the best (worst?) below.

To begin with, what, exactly, are these parents getting so upset about? If we’re being totally honest, no education system is perfect–with the possible exception of North Korea, perhaps–so maybe they have some legitimate grievances. We shouldn’t immediately dismiss someone without at least getting an idea of what they’re saying, right?

Well, here’s a list of some of the complaints reported by Nonstop.

“Don’t make my child take part in school cleaning. Hire a janitor! [In Japan, students ordinarily clean the school every day after class]“

“Why weren’t the cherry trees blooming at the school entrance ceremony?”

“Separating my boy from his friends at pre-school creates trouble. I want them to be together all the time.”

“My daughter got a sunburn on field day.”

“My daughter wants to be an idol, so don’t put her in a seat by the window!”

“School lunches lack flavor.”

“Don’t make my child say ‘Itadakimasu!’ before eating! ["Itadakimasu" literally means "I humbly receive," and it used before eating by most Japanese people. It could be compared to saying grace, but there aren't the same religious undertones to it.]“

“My son got hurt, so I demand the school pays for his medical bills. And for our dinner!”

“I can’t believe my boy got bitten by a bug! Don’t let insects come near him again!”

“Give my child an instrument that stands out!”

“My child can’t use chopsticks properly!”

Some of these are, for want of a better word, unbelievable. How could anyone complain about the cherry trees not blossoming during the entrance ceremony? And what, exactly, did they expect the teachers to do about it? Glue petals to them? Trick the trees into thinking spring had arrived?

Of course, not every parent in Japan is a monster parent. And plenty of people are annoyed by their behavior. Not that explaining the problem helps – another TV show documented some of the monster parent types in 2010, including a “gyaku gire” (reverse anger) mother. In the show, a group of mothers came to watch their children’s classes, but instead of paying attention to the teacher, they stood in the back and chatted among themselves. When the teacher finally asked them to be quiet, one of the mothers, feeling singled out, became irate and berated the teacher for creating a class so boring she felt compelled to chat instead of listen.

So, how did Internet commenters react to the "Nonstop" report?

“If you going to be like that, don’t send your kids to school!”

“Just looking at monster parents pisses me off!”

“The children of these parents are bound to be worthless”.

“Does anyone know how to make cherry trees blossom?”

“Teachers should snap at these kinds of unreasonable parents.”

“These monsters are scary. I wonder if there is any end to their reproduction…”

“Aren’t they bothering their own kids as well?”

“When my daughter was in elementary school, the parents would go and clean the bathrooms…”

“This can only lead to fewer teachers…”

“These parents need some mandatory education!”

“This is where useless people who can’t survive in society come from. Seriously.”

“Where’s a monster hunter when you need one?”

“‘Itadakimasu!’”

Sadly, a lot of these complaints probably don’t sound uncommon to people outside of Japan. We understand that parenting is hard – and probably a little scary – so it’s not surprising that some people go a bit overboard and demand a lot from the schools they’re sending their kids to, but no one can control when the sakura trees blossom. It’s no wonder teachers feel so exhausted in Japan.

Well, at least we know where all those monster new employees are coming from.

Sources: Byokan Sunday, YouTube

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Japanese Man Pulls Knife on Teenagers For Littering, “I Just Wanted to Warn Them” -- Japanese experts and expats react to parenting norms from around the world -- 65-year-old arrested for theft: “I never worked”

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©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

44 Comments
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"some people go a bit overboard and demand a lot from the schools"

The demand for excellence seems woven into the fabric of Japanese culture. The article is referring to manners. "Monsters" are the implacable whose petty anger clouds their intent; assuring the best education for their children.

Every social group has those few who are fault finders and mean spirited. Isn't that the central issue? These few have chosen extreme behavior and crisis making in response to ordinary disappointments.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“Don’t make my child take part in school cleaning. Hire a janitor! [In Japan, students ordinarily clean the school every day after class]“

This is a reasonable demand. Why do the kids clean up, anyway? A bit outdated, don't you think.

“Don’t make my child say ‘Itadakimasu!’ before eating! [“Itadakimasu” literally means “I humbly receive,” and it used before eating by most Japanese people. It could be compared to saying grace, but there aren’t the same religious undertones to it.]“

There's also nothing wrong with this.

Anyway, instead of complaining about petty grievances, they should demanding for a complete overhaul of the Japanese education system, because right now, it's pretty horrible.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

“Don’t make my child take part in school cleaning. Hire a janitor! "

What? And raise the school fee?

“Why weren’t the cherry trees blooming at the school entrance ceremony?”

They were shy.

“Separating my boy from his friends at pre-school creates trouble. I want them to be together all the time.”

Absolutely. We wouldn't want your boy to make any new friends.

“My daughter got a sunburn on field day.”

Ever heard of sunblock lotion and hats?

“My daughter wants to be an idol, so don’t put her in a seat by the window!”

Shucks, somebody's got to sit by the window...

“School lunches lack flavor.”

Better than tasting bad, eh?

“Don’t make my child say ‘Itadakimasu!’ before eating!"

What? And not teach your child good manners even if you won't?

“My son got hurt, so I demand the school pays for his medical bills. And for our dinner!”

What, you don't have health insurance? Dinner at the Imperial Hotel OK?

“I can’t believe my boy got bitten by a bug! Don’t let insects come near him again!”

Ever hear of insect repellant?

“Give my child an instrument that stands out!”

How about a ukulele?

“My child can’t use chopsticks properly!”

No worries, we have knives and forks and spoons.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

This is a reasonable demand. Why do the kids clean up, anyway? A bit outdated, don't you think.

Not really. It teaches kids respect for their school. Back when I was in school, we had a janitor, and kids just threw their trash onto the ground. After lunch, the janitors would come through with big wide brooms and sweep up all the garbage on the ground. You never see kids just throwing their garbage on the ground in Japanese schools - they know they have to clean it up.

“My daughter got a sunburn on field day.”

I actually agree with this one. The school should either have sunscreen, or require that parents send it along with the kids. If they are going to keep the kids outside, the kids should be protected.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

None of the complaints seem that bad, except the one about the cherry blossoms. Some parents will always complain about something no matter how trivial. I think that the school cleaning thing is a good idea, but kids don't do it where I'm from (the U.K). I honestly think the 'open class' thing is a total waste of time though because it in no way reflects a real lesson-both teacher and students behave differently for one thing. Parents chatting during a demonstration lesson is pretty rude mind you.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not really. It teaches kids respect for their school. Back when I was in school, we had a janitor, and kids just threw their trash onto the ground. After lunch, the janitors would come through with big wide brooms and sweep up all the garbage on the ground.

It also teaches that working without pay is a good thing, which I guess is what the Japanese corporations want. Brainwashing starts from a young age, I guess.

You never see kids just throwing their garbage on the ground in Japanese schools - they know they have to clean it up.

Not that this is really commonplace elsewhere, but perhaps it's because you aren't allowed to bring any snacks to Japanese schools.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

The moronic complaints coming from these monster parents makes me wonder how they ever figured out reproduction. "My daughter got sunburn" - wouldn't it be common sense to ensure that your daughter has sun cream in the summer? That's what I'd do. "Don't make my kid clean the school" - it's a shame that all schools around the world don't do this. It might teach kids to stop littering. If they get sick of cleaning up messes, they'll stop making them. "Don't make my kid say 'Itadakimasu' before eating" - Anata wa bakadesu. I can think of a stronger way of saying that, but I'd probably get censored. "Don't let bugs come near my child" - You know, I read somewhere that we end up swallowing up to a hundred spiders while we sleep during our life time. Good luck keeping bugs away when they fall into your mouth while you snore. Be glad you don't choke. "I want my kid to become an idol" - You know, 'bakadesu' just isn't strong enough here. Anata wa baka no kamidesu. Trying to push your kid into becoming an idol can only end in disaster. The world doesn't need another Justin Bieber or Rebecca Black. "Why aren't the Cherry trees blossoming?" I don't even know where to begin insulting this particular moron. I think simply telling them to urasei will have to suffice. Monster parents: the nightmare we all have to deal with at some point. God help us all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It also teaches that working without pay is a good thing, which I guess is what the Japanese corporations want. Brainwashing starts from a young age, I guess

Oh god. You make it sound like they are putting the kids up for indentured labour. Keeping their own school clean is a good lesson, not a bad one.

perhaps it's because you aren't allowed to bring any snacks to Japanese schools.

That may play a part in it.

2 ( +3 / -2 )

Oh god. You make it sound like they are putting the kids up for indentured labour. Keeping their own school clean is a good lesson, not a bad one.

If keeping the school clean is the objective, then why do they use a piece of worn out cloth to clean the floors, for instance? It's outdated. Face it, forcing the students to clean the school is nothing more than making the kids do menial tasks, which is not too far off from how the military schools make their men and women perform meaningless tasks in order to break their spirits.

And lest you think that I am over-exaggerating, many practices in Japanese schools and education still resemble militarist institutions.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

It's not only Japan where 'monster parents' exist anyway. I remember at my secondary school in the U.K, a mother raising hell because hers son 'wasn't allowed' to wear his brand new red jacket to school. The fact was that the uniform rule stated students could wear only navy blue or black coats. Everyone else abided by this rule so why did she think her son couldn't or shouldn't? she went to the local newspaper and everything. Silly cow.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Because sitting near a window kills all chances of being an idol

3 ( +3 / -0 )

...some of these unrealistic "parents" needs a good slap upside the head!...and tell them to quit spoiling their kids...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“Does anyone know how to make cherry trees blossom?”<

Yes I know:

Step 1: Send the seed to outer space and let it receive the radiation of the nearest star.

Step 2: Retrieve the seed.

Step 3: Plant the seed in the places you want it to blossom sooner than normal cherry trees.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

OMG!!! I better laugh... Anyway, I understand these are more exceptions, right? You all couldn't believe how this behaviour is a daily thing in latin América, especially because of the sense that parents are paying money in order their princes and princesses are not bothered, and that include low marks of course.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If keeping the school clean is the objective, then why do they use a piece of worn out cloth to clean the floors, for instance?

That's a problem with the method, not the system.

Face it, forcing the students to clean the school is nothing more than making the kids do menial tasks, which is not too far off from how the military schools make their men and women perform meaningless tasks in order to break their spirits.

No.

And lest you think that I am over-exaggerating, many practices in Japanese schools and education still resemble militarist institutions.

Yes, I agree.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If keeping the school clean is the objective, then why do they use a piece of worn out cloth to clean the floors, for instance? It's outdated. Face it, forcing the students to clean the school is nothing more than making the kids do menial tasks, which is not too far off from how the military schools make their men and women perform meaningless tasks in order to break their spirits.

And lest you think that I am over-exaggerating, many practices in Japanese schools and education still resemble militarist institutions.

In-sight of how a monster parent thinks.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

That's a problem with the method, not the system.

Which proves my point, which is outdated and should be done away with.

You honestly think that kids could not be doing something better with their time than cleaning their own classrooms and even school toilets and get this - serving the school lunches.

Honestly, they even have to clean the school toilets which is going way overboard and have nothing to do with "educating the students about blah blah blah" which are all just excuses.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Which proves my point, which is outdated and should be done away with.

No, what you said was that the cloth is old and small. So maybe they could use a bigger cloth. That doesn't mean there is something wrong with cleaning the schools, it just means that they could improve on the methods they use to do it.

You honestly think that kids could not be doing something better with their time than cleaning their own classrooms and even school toilets and get this - serving the school lunches.

I think it's a valuable use of their time to teach social responsibility, and keeping one's work area clean. It teaches respect for the fact that someone has to clean these things, it doesn't just magically happen on its own.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

No, what you said was that the cloth is old and small. So maybe they could use a bigger cloth. That doesn't mean there is something wrong with cleaning the schools, it just means that they could improve on the methods they use to do it.

No, I also said that it was outdated, read it right. And lol a bigger cloth? This just goes on and on, doesn't it? Why don't they use vacuums and floor cleaners, which probably won't be totally safe for kids to use? It's no different than the typical Japanese corporations using some ancient, outdated methods and coming up with some excuses like "It will teach the workers about the importance of work, blah blah blah". It's about not trying to change anything, even if the work in itself is actually quite pointless.

I think it's a valuable use of their time to teach social responsibility, and keeping one's work area clean. It teaches respect for the fact that someone has to clean these things, it doesn't just magically happen on its own.

None of that have anything to do with having to clean the school classrooms and toilets.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

"Monster parents." Such a dumb name. How about difficult to please???

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

" a group of mothers came to watch their children’s classes, but instead of paying attention to the teacher, they stood in the back and chatted among themselves."

If I was the teacher I would have told the mothers to be quiet from the get-go with both of my eyebrows raised.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I taught in Japan for four years, I agree having the kids clean (from junior high and up) is outdated and a waste of time. It's great in theory, and might work to a degree for younger kids and at the dojo, but by the time the kids get to junior high they don't give a shit. Worked in four different junior highs, all of the areas the kids were responsible to clean were always filthy. And despite constantly changing between outdoor shoes/indoor shoes/gym shoes….never made a difference. Dirt, dust, gravel always got tracked in because that's what the playing field is made of.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Serrano

" a group of mothers came to watch their children’s classes, but instead of paying attention to the teacher, they stood in the back and chatted among themselves."

If I was the teacher I would have told the mothers to be quiet from the get-go with both of my eyebrows raised.

How about making them stand in the comer with a bucket of water in each hand (Japanese style punishment)... Maybe not enough corners ?

Actually, I guess I misunderstood the "Title"... I imagined parents scaring the daylights out of their kids, not coddling them by complaining to the schools, especially for for stupid reasons.

I am also curious to know why "sitting near the window" would have anything to do with becoming - or not - an "idol" ? Personally, I preferred my boys to be "normal" and make friends rather than try to be an "idol".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"How about making them stand in the comer with a bucket of water in each hand (Japanese style punishment)"

OK, as long as they hold the buckets with their arms straight out. ( I learned that one from Mel Gibson's Porter character in Payback, heh heh )

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I agree with the "Hire a janitor." and the "Don't make my kid say 'Itadakimasu'" comments.

My kids are still in nursery school and I've already had to complain a few times. (Although, I don't agree that going against the established way is necessarily a complaint.)

My two were "Don't make my kids wear a mask." and, when leaving at the end of the day, "Don't make my daughter turn, face the class, bow and say 'Minnasan ni sayonara. Sensei ni sayonara.'" before leaving the room.

That second one is just like the karate dojo and seemed to me an unnecessary level of ritualized formality for a 3 year old.

I expect I will go against the system many more times at elementary school and will be considered a gaijin monster parent. Oh well. To be honest, I'd much rather do home schooling than leave them to the social programming of the factory farm-like Japanese school system.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

this article is stupid nothing different from parents anywhere

0 ( +1 / -1 )

None of that have anything to do with having to clean the school classrooms and toilets.

I see that you do not have an effective response to the idea that it does teach social responsibility. It may be a menial task, but also an essential one. If the kids don't do it, they'd hire a janitor, which costs money and isn't as educational.

(Cleaning is also a good way to get kids to do at least a modicum of exercise, which is getting more and more important in this world of computers and couch potatoes).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Kazuaki,

No. I never cleaned my school back home but that had no effect on my cleanliness. My house is spotless. Id say I learned that from my mom. Sounds like you support the shirking of responsibility by parents. If tax money wasnt wasted then they`d have cash for private cleaners.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@pointofview

Then you're a rare exception to the rule. I've seen far too many people who leave their mess for someone else to clean up. If they had learned from a young age to clean up their own mess after them, they'd have grown up to be very different people. I fully support the system of having students clean the schools at the end of the day. When you have to spend your spare time cleaning up your mess, you soon learn to be less messy. The results don't appear right away naturally. As with any worthwhile practice, you need to repeat it time and again until it becomes habit. There are some people who don't need to do this to learn to be neat. Most of those have obsessive compulsive disorder or something similar, the rest have good parents who actually teach their children. Far too many parents aren't doing this, but that's a whole other kettle of fish.

I can see no justifiable reason why any of these complaints are made. Ever. None of them make any sense. From pointless nit picking to opposing life skills, it's just ridiculous. I'm not entirely certain of the cause of this behaviour, whether it's a fear of becoming a bad parent, or an obsession with becoming a better parent than someone else, or whether it's resentment towards their own parents, stemming from a warped view of their childhood. I'm inclined to think the latter.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cleaning is taught in schools and in the house and every where.... there are so many people that they clean their home but public spaces are a huge trash cans...

Learning to work along with others is a good thing, why is that exploiting something?

I think these monster parents, as well as some people around here are just dumb, lazy and borderline anarchic.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I live in the United States, and before I eat, we eat, we say: Itadakimasu. It's respect! It's thanks! Don't ever believe that food will be before you every day in your life. Monster parents - obviously have too much time on their hands or are trying to be someone they are not.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

That second one is just like the karate dojo and seemed to me an unnecessary level of ritualized formality for a 3 year old.

This is Japan. Everything here is ritualized formality. By protesting, you're preventing them from learning how things work in this society, which is likely going to make them an outsider as they grow older.

You'd be better off leaving the school system to teach your kid the way they do, and as your kid gets older, teach them the 'additional rules' - show them how what they are learning in school is highly ritualized, and is important to learn to get along in Japan, but that there are also other ways. Teach them reasons why that formalization can hinder creativity, so that they can learn additional things in addition to the way things are done here. Hindering your child from learning how to effectively function in the society in which they live is not doing them any favors.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The people who are saying that "It will teach social responsibility, blah blah" are obviously being contradictory. There is a difference between WANTING to clean, and FORCING to clean. If you force somebody to do something, then obviously, it's not going to stick. Case in point, Japanese people are not necessarily any more cleaner or tidier than people in other nations who have never had to clean their schools. Most Japanese houses and desks are very cluttered and untidy. Japanese people litter, too, but there is also the strict social rule of having to take the trash home.

Even if it DID make people more "cleaner", that has nothing to do with education, and teaching such "morals" should be done at home.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Because learning to accept that there are things you should do, whether you like it or not - is a bad thing?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Because learning to accept that there are things you should do, whether you like it or not - is a bad thing?

Do you NEED to clean the school, even the toilets? No.

But the entire argument is, "It's a good thing, because it will teach them lifelong skill about cleaning". But that's obviously not true, since if you force something, then it's not going to stick. And Japanese people who had to clean their schools, are obviously not necessarily any more cleaner than people who never had to.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

@Fox,

So in a teachers contract it states that "if parents fail to teach their children how to keep things clean/tidy the teacher has to assume they are responsible to teach them?"

If its not properly from the start it defeats the purpose. No soap, hot water, vacuums, floor cleaning machines etc. exist so how in the world are the schools getting that clean to begin with? I work at a new school so its not too bad but in the past all older schools and they still looked filthy. WHY? I think the schools would be much cleaner if it was done right and with the right products.

@Strangerland,

Well...my sons are already referred to as outsiders at school by being called haafu and gaijin and they are only 2 and 4 yet they have Japanese citizenship and passports. It`s supposedly a free country so expressing your feelings is completely fine.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

pointofview

If its not properly from the start it defeats the purpose. No soap, hot water, vacuums, floor cleaning machines etc. exist so how in the world are the schools getting that clean to begin with? I work at a new school so its not too bad but in the past all older schools and they still looked filthy. WHY? I think the schools would be much cleaner if it was done right and with the right products.

Good point. Kids cleaning floors with filthy, old cloths with plain water is just plain inefficient, and perhaps unhygienic. Another case of Japan continuing a trend for the sake of continuing it. It's outdated, and should be done away with.

There is a difference between, "I will do this because I have to", and "I will do this because it's my social responsibility, etc". One is blindly accepting "authority", and another is of doing it out of spontaneity and fulfilling personal responsibility. This is yet another example of forcing the kids of blindly accepting "authority", no matter how unreasonable, which is straight out of militarist era Japan. No wonder that Japanese tend to blindly accept and follow "authority".

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

If you force somebody to do something, then obviously, it's not going to stick.

1) School is forced, you think it doesn't stick?

2) You obviously don't know how brainwashing works.

Case in point, Japanese people are not necessarily any more cleaner or tidier than people in other nations who have never had to clean their schools.

I find they generally are.

Most Japanese houses and desks are very cluttered and untidy.

Cluttered and untidy does not necessarily equate to unclean. Houses are smaller here, so becoming cluttered is to be expected. Having open, clutter-free spaces is a luxury afforded to those with the space to be able to keep everything out of the way.

Japanese people litter, too, but there is also the strict social rule of having to take the trash home.

Litter does happen here, but I don't see it nearly as prevalent as in other countries.

Do you NEED to clean the school, even the toilets? No.

You do if you don't have a janitor.

But the entire argument is, "It's a good thing, because it will teach them lifelong skill about cleaning".

You show your lack of reading comprehension. Not only is the above not what was said, it's most definitely not the entire argument.

Well...my sons are already referred to as outsiders at school by being called haafu and gaijin

Really? That's definitely not the norm in kindergartens.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Id have to say that the larger shops in Japan are much tidier than back home. I couldnt believe the filth and scattering of products at some of the larger shops when I was home a few weeks ago.

I often ask my students if they do chores and the majority say no. I guess they are not told to do them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What the majority of thede whiners don't seem to get is school is dedigned to teach more than academic skills, it's about socialisation,manners,learning to negotiate, learning that authority should be respected etc. If your precious little carbon footprint " doesn't need " to learn these things, homeschool.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

learning that authority should be respected etc.

What, no. Blind acceptance of authority is always bad. You will create a country full of ignoramuses, only following rules, never thinking of themselves.

If your precious little carbon footprint " doesn't need " to learn these things, homeschool.

Homeschooling is just as legitimate as public and private schooling, so all of your points become moot.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

This is Japan

That's the reason most Japanese give when asked why something is done a certain way.

That kind of unthinking adherence to tradition is exactly what I DON'T want my kids to do.

I'm not "preventing them from learning how things work in society". I'm showing them other ways to do things and other ways to think. They aren't "additional rules". My culture is as important as their mother's and I'm trying to put as much of myself into them as possible.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Besides, is having to clean the schools mentioned anywhere in the education's required curriculum? I don't think so. If anything, they're using the kids' free time to clean up the school.

Just hire some damn janitors. They're more efficient, professional, hygienic and can certainly use adult tools that the kids can't use. There's absolutely no need for the kids to be cleaning school toilets.

-6 ( +1 / -6 )

I don't see anything wrong with having to clean what you use.

our kids schools have janitors who clean toilets and common areas (gym, stairs, etc) and the kids clean their classrooms & hallway.

Well...my sons are already referred to as outsiders at school by being called haafu and gaijin

what's wrong with being called "haafu"? they don't mean half they mean mixed (or half Japanese half something else, which is literally true). I'm a haafu and I don't mind being called haafu. My kids who are mixed go to Japanese schools and yes everyone knows they are mixed (both me and my husband are mixed) but they have no problem getting along with friends. from my personal perspective as "haafu", I don't think most haafu people care about the word.

Back to the original topic about cleaning the school - kids do not think they are cleaning during their FREE time, it's their routine on a daily basis.

one thing I agree with some of the posters here, though, is that the schools should have vaccum cleaners for the kids to clean the foor :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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