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Junior high teacher burns student's hair with lighter

52 Comments

A male teacher at a public junior high school in Kasai, Hyogo Prefecture, burned a student's hair with a lighter during a class in January.

According to the Kasai City Board of Education, on Jan 20, the 26-year-old teacher warned a 13-year-old student that his sitting posture was not appropriate, Fuji TV reported. When the student did not change the way he was sitting after multiple warnings, the teacher took a lighter from his pants pocket, lit it and held it against the boy's hair, burning some of it.

The teacher later apologized to the student and his parents, describing his action as a joke but admitting it was inappropriate. However, the school did not report the incident to the education board, Fuji TV reported.

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52 Comments
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And this moron is still teaching?

11 ( +18 / -7 )

Arson is a "joke"? Assault is a "joke"? The REAL joke is that this person apparently still works at the school.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

As someone who has taught, classroom management is an insurmountable task. You for sure have to put out a message that your word must be taken seriously and defiant punks will be dealt with. So in a sense, I can understand where the teacher is coming from. But yeah, he went too far. I think discipline should be light in this case, though, and this is definitely not "assault" or "arson" as people above claim.

-5 ( +14 / -19 )

OrangeXenon54Feb. 04, 2016 - 07:40AM JST

As someone who has taught, classroom management is an insurmountable task. You for sure have to put out a message that your word must be taken seriously and defiant punks will be dealt with. So in a sense, I can understand where the teacher is coming from. But yeah, he went too far. I think discipline should be light in this case, though, and this is definitely not "assault" or "arson" as people above claim."

If setting someone's hair on fire is not 'assault' or 'arson' then exactly what is it? Oh right, 'a joke.' Not a very funny joke, though.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Lighting a kids hair on fire is a joke? Possibly something lost in translation here, as I find it hard to believe that any person in the position that this guy is in would openly admit to or say something like this as a justification or excuse for their actions.

If he really did say "joke" as joudan, this guy needs a lesson in kind, repeatedly.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

danger to leave him around kids

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If he really did say "joke" as joudan, this guy needs a lesson in kind, repeatedly.

@Yubaru

He did say "joudan."

According to one news source: 教諭は「冗談のつもりだったが、不適切な行為だった」と男子生徒と保護者に謝罪しました」. Rough translation: "The teacher apologized to the student and his guardians, saying 'I meant it as a joke, but my behavior was inappropriate.'"

2 ( +3 / -1 )

However, the school did not report the incident to the education board, Fuji TV reported.

Of course not. Teachers won't even report the tall tale warning signs and red flags of their students who are on the brink of contemplating suicide.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

However, the school did not report the incident to the education board...

This is the biggest crime in my opinion. The administration wanted to cover it up instead of take responsibility and fire the teacher. What a bunch of bologne.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I think what the teacher did was horrible, but what the school's cover up was even worse. The teacher's actions was a split second act of stupidity and bad judgement. The schools actions were calculated.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Why the parents don't want to take legal action? And the parents of the other students didn't say anything?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Mean't as a joke or not, anyone who has taught will tell you that these defiant punks who just want to show off are a real pain in the neck. They can wreck a whole lesson. Some you can ignore, others you can't. There is probably more to this story than his sitting position.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Arson is a "joke"?

No, but this wasn't "arson".

3 ( +7 / -4 )

This action is similar to hitting a student and should carry the same punishment. I have rude and belligerent pupils in my classes but most teachers know that we can't be physical with them. A call to the boys parents or a staffroom telling off in front of other teachers would have been far more 'appropriate'.

Yes, I'd love to send them a 'wake up' electric shock (like in the Simpsons family therapy episode) but we live in the real world!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

So..........if I do something bad in Japan (excluding murder), can I either : A : Deep bow and apologize B : Say "I was drunk and I don't remember" ....and get away with it?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

OrangeXenon54FEB. 04, 2016 - 07:40AM JST As someone who has taught, classroom management is an insurmountable task.

Nonsense, it's totally surmountable. What you need is a competent teacher who is able to work in close connection with a competent homeroom teacher.

The teacher projects authority, not authoritarianism. This may require reasonable disciplining of students. Reasonable discipline is when a student disrupts class, they are punished in a way that brings the class back into line. Burning a student's hair with a lighter is an absolutely stupid way to bring the class back into line. Even if the "joke" does work, all it does is create further distraction from the teaching point. The only possibility after pulling this stunt is the lesson goes further off the rails, and any teacher who thought it through before pulling out their lighter would know this.

Once the teacher has authority, then the teacher's job is to make the lesson content engaging such that students want to do it, so that they can use more carrot and less stick. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of traditional-Japanese teachers fall down. They're comfortable as authoritarian didacticians, and that's all they've ever known how to be.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Arson is "malicious burning to destroy property", so unless some people here consider the student's hair his "property" there is no arson. It's an assault. On the other hand there are a lot of punks in school here who do whatever they want and they do deserve some ass whopping. I wonder what do these teachers learn in teacher's college when they study classroom management.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Yea pulling out the lighter is definitely taking it too far here. There should be more options available to teachers to deal with disruptive kids, though. I've seen teachers get very mean and cruel verbally since they can't get physical, and I personally think that can be worse than what this teacher did. The 生気 of the students will bring the worst out of a teacher for sure! As a teacher, I've always considered having to deal with bad kids my own karma for when I was a disruptive young boy myself.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It was simple plain assault, and the teacher needs to be disciplined/retrained from scratch/put in a position where he cannot assault any other children.

If this was his normal method of 'discipline' in class, it's no wonder the pupils slouched around with an inappropriate sitting posture.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If someone lit me on fire, I would consider it not just assault, but attempted murder. This guy should be put on trial.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

It was a "joke", eh? First, the teacher shouldn't be carrying a light, although not against the law at present. Second, you don't TOUCH a student for not doing something you don't like (or for any matter), and most certainly don't physically abuse them.

But, it's Japan. THese guys get their license not based on classroom management skills, empathy, or general ability to deal with others, but instead get it through rote memory learning and a test that may or may not have anything to do with the fields they choose to teach in.

I wonder how the school and local BOE is going to try and gloss this one over.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I've been working in Jr/Sr high schools in Japan for over a decade and I've seen some things done by teachers that should have resulted in jail terms, but never do. Ive seen teachers pulling kids out of their chairs by their hair, some absolutely horrible verbal abuses, kids receiving punishment of having their heads shaved and my personal favorite, at least six of seven times I've seen kids cop a really hard smack on the top of the head. It's quite ironic that Japan is spending so much money and time on finding ways to stop bullying in schools, but from my experience, the teachers are the biggest bullies of them all. Intimidation and abuse are not discipline!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Thank you MikeRowave!

This is NOT arson. It's probably not even assault. It's bad judgement for sure, and a joke taken too far to be taken as a joke.

Any kind of roughhousing could be construed as assault - depending on the injury received, the conditions the injury happened in, and the intention of the one who caused the injury. Eg. Opening a door at the wrong time can cause a nasty black eye or the loss of teeth, should someone walk into at just that moment, yet nobody would accuse the person who opened the door of assaulting the injured person. I don't think we have enough information to conclude that it was not intended as a joke. But I think we can all agree it was a pretty stupid idea.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The teacher played with fire and got burned. The student does seem to be a insolent hot head though.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"Arson is 'malicious burning to destroy property', so unless some people here consider the student's hair his 'property' there is no arson. It's an assault"

In Japan, children do not have human rights and are legally as viewed as property.

"The school's [in]actions were calculated"

Yet another example of the INSTITUTIONALIZED CHILD ABUSE in Japan!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

However, the school did not report the incident to the education board, Fuji TV reported.

So typical of the Japanese way of handling wrongdoings that could, hide and cover-up, hope the parents will not let this case down and bring that teacher to court.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is the biggest crime in my opinion. The administration wanted to cover it up instead of take responsibility and fire the teacher. What a bunch of bologne.

There is a difference between covering up something and not reporting something that happened. The biggest crime is the institutional mind-set that if it doesn't get out then it isn't a problem.

First, the teacher shouldn't be carrying a light, although not against the law at present.

Why? Law or not, there should be no reason why a teacher should not be allowed to carry a pocket lighter. Probably 99.9999% of the people who carry them wouldn't think to do the same thing that this nut case did.

BTW I carry a lighter in my pocket every single day, it serves one purpose, and I dont think anyone should be telling me what I can and can not carry in my pockets if it is not illegal. Better in my pocket than in my desk where some kid might steal it!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

However, the school did not report the incident to the education board, Fuji TV reported.

Why? Saying sorry does not make everything go away

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Jesus! I just take away their chair for 5 minutes! I can't believe this douche is still teaching!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If you see teachers doing the things Disillusioned mentioned, speak up. Try to get the information on video or take pictures. Don't immediately go to the police, but rather go to the vice-principal and let him/her know that you want to make a complaint to "Monbukagakusho". Make sure that you have written a statement explaining the situation with times, name and dates. You don't need to talk to the victim but you will have to know their name, so find out if you don't know.

Things will MOVE in the right direction after that.

Been there, done that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Was that a common discipline practices during imperial years? Pre1945 when harsh physical punishment was legitable even 1950s is still very usual.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oxford dictionary- Arson: "The criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property." Ones own hair would not be considered "property".

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Was that a common discipline practices during imperial years? Pre1945 when harsh physical punishment was legitable even 1950s is still very usual.

I doubt teachers back in the imperial years carried around lighters to discipline their students. And harsh physical punishment here did not go out of style in the 50's either, to many it still happens today!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We need to stop coddling these boys and quit treating them like little princesses. They need discipline! Why do they have hair anyways? No wonder their are so many cross dressers in our society.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

If a foreigner had done the same thing I am most willing to bet they would have been arrested and deported. Then, you would not have heard the end it. The guy is not even disciplined? Not even lose a percentage of his pay? Well if he doesn't get in trouble, what's to stop him from doing it again?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

You make a good point Aly

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thank you Christopher.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The guy is not even disciplined? Not even lose a percentage of his pay? Well if he doesn't get in trouble, what's to stop him from doing it again?

Right, how about getting a lynch mob together.

Just because you haven't read it here does not mean the process is over and this guy is free from charges, which will be TOTALLY up to the discretion of the parents, who would have to file a complaint for the police to charge him with any crime, and that does not mean he is free from getting punished from the BOE or potentially losing his job as well.

This is not over for him, and hopefully he will never be allowed into a classroom again.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

WOW. That is not a joke. The teacher is a joke though. Hopefully he will not be a teacher for very long.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Maybe someone should kick him in the bollocks really hard, just for a joke. He probably learns this type of humour from Japanese TV shows, which are about as funny as a massive kick in the bollocks.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Whether it was a joke or not (it depends on what you definition of "joke" is), he is an immediate danger to his students, and should be gone. Wait until his "jokes" start to escallate as his mental state breaks down more (obviously has mental issues).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I remember playing with a lighter on the school bus in high school. We were running it along our jeans to send showers of sparks flying out. We were screwing around. Luckily, nobody got hurt.

I imagine that this teacher was doing the same - just screwing around. Unfortunately, he forgot that when you play with fire you sometimes get burnt, or somebody else does. Somebody please explain how a prank, albeit a stupid one, can be construed as either arson or assault.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Somebody please explain how a prank, albeit a stupid one, can be construed as either arson or assault.

So are you saying it's fine for a teacher to play a prank with a dangerous object and potentially injure a student in the process? Hey it's just a prank right?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Right, how about getting a lynch mob together.

if it was MY kid...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Dan your a little mixed up here, what you do to your self is your decision, if it goes wrong that your fault, what the teacher did was a deliberate act on someone else, this is an assault on a child, sure we've all played around with lighters i.e. lighting pharts, paper, lots of stuff, what would your parents say if you had come home as you told them that you had set light to your mate David, and now he's in hospital with multiple burns? "We were screwing around. Luckily, nobody got hurt." well you was just lucky that day, and as for this student, what would have happened if this student was using hair gell? that stuff is quite flammable, lets look at it from another angle, if or when your son or daughter goes to school and some clown sets fire to them, what do you think your response will be? Ooh well, never mind? or WHAT! i want the police involved now!, if its the first one, please never have any children as your totally irresponsible, and not fit to have children. "Somebody please explain how a prank, albeit a stupid one, can be construed as either arson or assault." are you really this stupid? just read the above comments and it will explain it all. kids do stupid things its all about learning life skills, but now were talking of and educated adult he should have known better.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Chances were that the student was simply physically sick and could hardly maintain good posture. And the teacher should have taken him promptly to the health room. Let alone burn the head hair.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I bet the boy has great posture now.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

He told the class it was a science project!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

and this is definitely not "assault" or "arson" as people above claim.

No, but this wasn't "arson".

Arson is "malicious burning to destroy property", so unless some people here consider the student's hair his "property" there is no arson. It's an assault.

This is NOT arson. It's probably not even assault. It's bad judgement for sure, and a joke taken too far to be taken as a joke.

Oxford dictionary- Arson: "The criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property." Ones own hair would not be considered "property".

Somebody please explain how a prank, albeit a stupid one, can be construed as either arson or assault.

Amazing the number of people here making excuses for the teacher. This was not a "prank" nor a "joke". The student didn't do what the teacher told him to do and the teacher used the lighter on the kid's hair as punishment for not obeying. For those of you claiming that your hair is not your property, then whose property is it? When you go to the barber/stylist, whose hair are you getting cut/styled? YOUR hair, that whose. Your hair falls under the definition of "corporeal personal property" in that you have positive control over possession of the property and have final say over how the property is maintained (or not maintained). With that in mind, I was in error. The teacher is not only guilty of arson and assault, he's also guilty of battery:

Arson is defined as the willful and malicious burning or charring of property.

http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/arson.html

Assault: At Common Law, an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/assault

Battery is both a tort and a crime. Its essential element, harmful or offensive contact, is the same in both areas of the law. The main distinction between the two categories lies in the penalty imposed. A defendant sued for a tort is civilly liable to the plaintiff for damages. The punishment for criminal battery is a fine, imprisonment, or both. Usually battery is prosecuted as a crime only in cases involving serious harm to the victim.

The act must result in one of two forms of contact. Causing any physical harm or injury to the victim—such as a cut, a burn, or a bullet wound—could constitute battery, but actual injury is not required.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/battery

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Yubaru, Brian, Fadamor and others: Sorry, you are right. I was a little mixed up. I got so involved in the other comments about "pranks" and the teachers excuse that it was a joke, that I neglected what was written in the article where it said the teacher did it in what appeared to be some kind of punishment - which is unacceptable.

Allow me to restate. Had the circumstances been different, ie. had they all been laughing and screwing around, then I would stand by my earlier comments. However, that does not appear to be the case and it seems the teacher used the lighter as intimidation or punishment, and as such should be liable to punishment. At the very least, he should be on leave until the matter is resolved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unpaid leave

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fadamor, your above comments has made it very clear, thanks, are the Japanese laws the same as ours? (UK law) because, the above comments are probably based on English law, but are they mirrored in Japanese law?. Either way he would be dismissed from the UK work place under "gross misconduct" at the very least.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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