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16-year-old high school student commits suicide after meeting teachers over online insults

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A 16-year-old high school student hanged himself in Wakkanai, Hokkaido, after being questioned by teachers over insulting messages that he had reportedly posted online about classmates, city education officials said Thursday.

According to the officials, the student was found by parents hanging in his room at home around 10 p.m. on July 20 after he was interviewed by teachers the same day about the messages. He was taken to hospital but died on Aug 4.

At a press conference Thursday, the school principal said that some students had reported the insults to the school. Teachers initially interviewed four students, including the dead boy. After the interview, one teacher contacted the boy's mother by phone and told her that he would be suspended for 7 to 10 days.

Meanwhile, the Hokkaido Shimbum Press reported that the student left a note in which he said: “A teacher said to me, 'You should die' and 'You're an idiot.' 'The suspension is too much for me.'”

The school principal was quoted by the paper as saying, “According to the teachers who interviewed the student, they didn't say anything like 'die' or 'idiot.' They said nothing inappropriate to him. I suppose the student wanted to say something in a farewell note, but you can't be sure if the note is about us.”

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Haha, "of course we didn't say that!"

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no. of course they didn't.

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What's the best solution when you have a problem in Japan? Follow the examples set by your peers, and off with your head.

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What happend to the old days when a teacher or high up Principle sent YOU home with a short letter to your parents? Also have the modern kids become that thin skinnned or is the computer or 'net a disaster in life to the modern kids???

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Of course the principal is going to defend the teacher's actions. I have seen the insulting reprimands given by Japanese teachers many times and telling kids they are idiots is part of their main arsenal. They probably did not tell him to die although, they would have said something along the lines of, "you don't deserve to live in this society," It's standard practice in schools. Then there is also the good old smack on the head, which does happen regularly regardless of the laws against physical abuse of students. And, not to forget the shaving of the head of unruly boys. I've seen boys have their head shaved for forgetting to bring their sports gear. It's not that the kids are becoming 'thin-skinned' it is the fact the only way teachers discipline kids is with character assassination, which after a while clearly takes its toll on the kid's emotional state making incidents like this are inevitable. Sad!

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Serndipity, I agree, almost entirely. The side that just does not come out in tragic cases like this is that for every cruel teacher there are 10 kind ones that are deeply dedicated to the welfare and upbringing of their students, regardless of what unacceptable things they do.

The other thing that is really hard to put a finger on is why a grown adult would think it is morally acceptable to try to destroy a young person's sense of self-worth as a disciplinary tactic.

BTW, the old ways say that now there is a teacher that must take responsibility for the student's death, and the only way to do so is ....well, we all know that, don't we. We'll see if the old ways win or whether the 'dokonjou' culture has faded somewhat...

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The school principal was quoted by the paper as saying, “According to the teachers who interviewed the student, they didn’t say anything like ‘die’ or ‘idiot.’ They said nothing inappropriate to him. I suppose the student wanted to say something in a farewell note, but you can’t be sure if the note is about us.”

And since the witness isn't around to back up his claims, we choose to sweep it all under the rug, because it can't possibly happen again, nor can teh teacher involved do harm to another child.

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The other thing that is really hard to put a finger on is why a grown adult would think it is morally acceptable to try to destroy a young person's sense of self-worth as a disciplinary tactic.

I don't think it's a question of whether or not an adult feels it is morally acceptable, I think it's a question of the adult feeling he has any other options. Unfortunately, if when growing up you are controlled through shame, when it's your turn to control others, using shame is your only resource.

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"...making incidents like this are inevitable."

This is an extreme view.

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Of course it is possible the teachers in question said the things quoted from the poor boy's letter. However, I do think it is a sad statement on society when many think that the teachers must have said these things to the boy. Isn't it possible the boy was not well to begin with and that although the teachers didn't actually say those things that the student felt that these things were being said to him. I am probably not making myself clear, however I wonder how many people have actually spoken to young Japanese people recently. Often in today's society young people in Japan take normal statements by their peers or by their elders and turn the meanings around in their heads so that they end up (to them) meaning something entirely different. Then they react to what they think was said as opposed to what was actually said.

This young man was not well to begin with. He chose an option that people who are not well choose. It is sad, but to automatically blame his instructors is sad as well. What will happen to this country if teachers' word is never trusted over a student's?

It's not that the kids are becoming 'thin-skinned' it is the fact the only way teachers discipline kids is with character assassination, which after a while clearly takes its toll on the kid's emotional state making incidents like this are inevitable.

Interesting point. However, it does seem to ignore that fact that disipline in Japan has gotten softer over the years, not stricter.

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Wow!! That's what a HIGH SCHOOL is all about. INSULTS DAILY GOSSIP DAILY FIGHTING DAILY

It's obvious that teachers bullied the student. Scared him using psychological threats against him. And he couldn't handle the reverse insults. So he just gave up !!!!! MEETING ??? What kind of meeting was it ?

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TRUTHxHURTS,

It's obvious that teachers bullied the student.

How is it obvious? Based solely on the letter of the student? Based on one meeting?

Again, it certainly is possible that the teachers said something inappropriate. However, it is certainly not "obvious". At least, not yet.

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J-Kids sure do have issues, I really noticed that selfworth is lacking heavily in this country. I blame the parents. I'm sure many of you besides me notice teens hanging out at the local konbini well after 11PM. Makes me wonder about thier home life, it seems supervising and disciplining thier children is not a priority for Japanese parents. Hell I had to be home before the street lights came on. Japan is the only Asian country I've lived in where I DON'T see parents take an active role in thier teen kids lives.

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The funny thing is...a teachers reaction to a bullying student is, to bully him.

Head slapping is common in schools.

Shame culture at work.

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instead of asking why he said those remarks they denigrate him, causing him shame so he would kill himself, is this manslaughter?

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Japanese kids. Sometimes it seems like you coddle them, they commit suicide. You are tough on them, they commit suicide. To blame teachers for this kind of suicide is to tell people "don't become teachers, you become the sphincters of this country responsible for taking all kinds of crap without any benefit to yourself." Mental health and stress are endemic problems in this country, condemning overworked, underpaid public school teachers for not being babysitter, therapist, confidante and educator to every messed-up kid is almost as crazy than committing suicide over nothing.

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Some of you should take psychology courses.

It is highly possible that the teachers never said such a thing and that the boy just wanted to make himself pose as a victim and, at the same time, make sure that the teachers get into trouble after his death.

It's called self-victimisation.

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They do all that has been said and more. I was in shock when I saw how they treated kids and even had a talk with the principle about it. Its very common for a 20ish year old Japanese teacher (most are very young and immature now because the pay is horrid and so are the hours) to bully a kid to the point of him breaking, it is also very common for a J parent to ignore the kid as much as possible.. It could of been a plot to get the teacher in trouble( we would have to assume the kid was smart enough to figure this out and evil enough to take his own life to make the teacher pay (kind of a hard sell there), but it could of been his only way to escape the J way of life.. Either way its for the courts to decide...

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I believe teachers need to have their authority to act in loco parentis restored. No good parent would ever say "idiot" or "die you gravy sucking pig". I must admit that I'm glad, however, that this bully has been nabbed and won't be insulting others anymore.

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What bully has been nabbed?

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chardk1 and majimekun,

Very well thought-out posts. I agree with your sentiments. In addition, I think it is high time that parents were expected to take a bigger interest in their children. Japan is becoming a country where children barely know their parents even if they see them every day.

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It is highly possible that the teachers never said such a thing and that the boy just wanted to make himself pose as a victim and, at the same time, make sure that the teachers get into trouble after his death.

majimekun - Good point. You could be right...possibly. However, as you can see Japan has somewhat of a reputation for bullying and shaming people.

Lets see if other details come to light.

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Cleo: What bully has been nabbed?

The internet bully who hanged himself. Thank god he won't be able to terrorize his classmates like that again

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medievaltimes: yeah, I know that Japan is known for students bullying by senseis. But, personally, I don't see how it could be possible that an internet bully such as the boy would have such a thin skin when it's his turn to get bullied. The self-victimization theory sounds the most probable.

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I also agree with the self-victimization theory. It's very much like jilted lovers killing themselves to "punish" the one who rejected them. Such suicides are a form of revenge which is usually, ineffective. Life goes on without them, regardless. People adapt and change. Probably, the kid wanted to "punish" not only the teachers, but the ones who denounced him and maybe his parents.

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The kid had problems in the first place if he was spinelessly posting insults about classmates. So the the teachers found him out and confronted him about it. The kid couldn't take the consequences and figured killing himself was easier. Read "The Burn Journals" someday if you are looking for a good take on this kind of situation. It's a true story about a kid who pulls something at school (setting a locker on fire if I remember) and decides to kill himself by self immolation. He fails of course but the point is that kids sometimes don't think rationally when they fear consequences especially in school settings.

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If teachers always acted like a suicide was imminent, they would never get anything done. This serious of events is rare.

Its always sad when a young person slips through the cracks. But before we take his side in the matter, let us remember that it seems he was the one that caused the trouble in the first place. It is quite likely he is the boy who cried wolf.

It is also possible that the students he insulted deserved every word and then some. They may have bullied the boy. Naturally, there is no evidence of that, but plenty of evidence of the resulting insults on the net. The teachers are not reincarnations of Sherlock Holmes, so they probably blamed the boy straight off.

We will never know. But I hardly think its productive to blame the teachers on a suicide note alone. I would sooner blame the parents. They should have been the most aware of the situation. If they failed him so badly, what could the teachers have done?

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