On January 15, a 16-year-old first-year student at Tokyo’s Metropolitan Machida Sogo High School got into a heated argument with a teacher in the school hallway. Prior to the argument, the student had been disciplined for wearing an earring to school, in violation of the dress code.
As the two were talking, another student filmed the exchange, which can be seen in the video below (which has been posted via multiple accounts on YouTube and Twitter). As it starts, the angered student can be heard saying “Don’t mess with me.” He also commands the 50-something educator to “Use that tiny brain of yours and think about it” and asks him “Are you a damned idiot?”as well as “How the hell am I going to be compensated, huh?”perhaps in reference to the ostensibly confiscated earring.
The teacher’s responses aren’t audible, as the student’s speaking with much more frequency and volume. Eventually, though, the teacher offers a much more physical rebuttal, chest-bumping the student away from him before swinging his right first into the student’s face and knocking him to the floor.
After landing the haymaker, the teacher grabs the student by one arm and pulls him back to the center of the hallway. As the two jostle, a number of students can be seen running into the hallway, calling for the teacher to stop, at which point he lets go of the student he punched, who’s still lying on the floor.
The student is reported to have suffered a bruised face and a cut on the inside of his mouth.
Despite the startling display of violence, social media in Japan hasn’t been at all swift to condemn the teacher’s actions. On the contrary, the majority of comments are along the lines of:
“The school should keep the teacher and expel the student.”
“Well, yeah, of course you’re gonna get punched if you talk to someone that way.”
“For acting like such a tough guy, the student sure goes down easily.”
“Haha he just got one-hit KO-ed by a dude in his 50s.”
“Good job, teacher! The student should get expelled.”
“I’m with the teacher on this one.”
“We should email the school to say ‘The teacher did nothing wrong’”
“It wasn’t right to hit him, but the words the student was saying were just as violent! The student isn’t a victim here.”
“Violence isn’t right, but there are limits to how far you can push a person, even an adult.”
Meanwhile, a Change.org petition seeking the teacher’s termination has drawn just 16 signatures.
Despite the support from social media, the teacher himself, and the school as well, have taken a repentant stance, with both having issued apologies to the boys’ guardians. “I lost my temper at the student’s words and became violent, and I regret doing so,” said the teacher, who has no documented record of habitual corporal punishment in disciplining students. The school is currently discussing what sort of disciplinary action to levy against the instructor, as well as discussing with the police whether or not criminal charges may be pending.
Sources: YouTube/ゲームちゃんねるにしようと思っています via Jin, The Sankei News, Livedoor News/J Cast News, YouTube/kt7000号, Twitter/町田総合高等学校, Change.org
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