A teacher at an elementary school in Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, has apologized after parents complained that he used a derogatory term for sexual minorities during class, the local board of education revealed Tuesday.
According to Warabi City Board of Education officials, the incident took place on June 12 during 5th-grade social science class, when a male student was reading a text out loud as part of a class assignment, Sankei Shimbun reported. The student pretended to speak like a girl while reading, which the teacher interrupted by saying, "Koko ni okama ga irunoka. Dare da okama wa," (Do we have any gays here? Who is it?).
The Japanese word "okama" the teacher used is a slang term for effeminate gays, transvestites or drag queens.
The incident surfaced after the parents of another student in the class, who is LGBT, called the school the next day, criticizing the teacher’s words and saying that their child “was hurt” by the verbal exchange.
The teacher and other school officials were aware that there is a an LGBT student in the class, board of education officials said.
The teacher was quoted by officials as saying that he wanted to scold the student who was reading the text for making jokes, but he made an “inconsiderate remark.” The teacher later apologized to the class and the parents.
Following the incident, the board of education held a study group on Tuesday, inviting all principals from the city’s municipal elementary and junior-high schools to discuss ways to prevent similar incidents and promote “a better understanding of the LGBT community.”© Japan Today