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Record number of teachers disciplined for corporal punishment

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A record high number of teachers were disciplined for using corporal punishment on their students in Japan in fiscal 2013, according to a survey by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

The survey said 3,953 teachers were suspended or fired for hitting 8,880 students at 2,848 schools, TBS reported Saturday. It was the highest number ever recorded.

Furthermore, results also showed that the number of teachers suspended or fired for having screamed inappropriate and or hurtful words at their pupils was 205, while 20 teachers were punished for sexual offenses, the ministry said.

The survey was prompted by an incident in December of 2012, when a student of the Osaka Municipal Sakuramiya High School committed suicide after having repeatedly received corporal punishment at the hands of his teachers.

Commenting on the survey results, Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura told a news conference: "Such things should not be permitted in our country and we should strive to teach our children without the use of violence."

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How were the teachers punished for sexual assaults? Fired, I hope.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Commenting on the survey results, Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura told a news conference: “Such things should not be permitted in our country and we should strive to teach our children without the use of violence.”

Rather than just making such an obvious statement, the Education Minister should be trying to reduce class sizes and find other measures to limit the stress levels of students and teachers and be working to increase pay so that people who can creatively find other means than violence will take up the teaching profession.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

I wonder how many schools were surveyed? Having this number will give an idea of how widespread this practice is of student abuse and mutilation. Sounds very 3rd. World and unbecoming of Japan.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The survey said 3,953 teachers were suspended or fired for hitting 8,880 students at 2,848 schools, TBS reported Saturday. It was the highest number ever recorded.

The highest ever recorded? Right....go back a decade or more and I'll bet there were 10 times this many incidents, but because it was never "recorded" folks have selective memories and choose to think that this is "a lot".

The Japanese education system created this problem and a larger problem is having far too many teachers employed who only take the jobs because of the security the job offers as komuin.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

While I don't believe there is EVER a good reason for a teacher to hit a student, here in Japan, there is no accountability for students who consistently cause trouble. Students are NEVER sent to the principals office, its all on the teachers to discipline their students and most are worried about the potencial fallout from that. The system itself, needs to be changed!

13 ( +14 / -1 )

While I don't believe there is EVER a good reason for a teacher to hit a student, here in Japan, there is no accountability for students who consistently cause trouble. Students are NEVER sent to the principals office, its all on the teachers to discipline their students

It depends on the school. In my SHS we have a discipline procedure and a specific teacher who deals with this. Offences ranging from uniform infractions to bullying and such are rated and punished effectively. The blue/yellow/red card and suspensions work well. We as a private high school had to do the bullying / hitting survey in line with the Min. of Ed. programme.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

“Such things should not be permitted in our country and we should strive to teach our children without the use of violence

Has this clown been into a public high school in the last twenty years? They are like a bloody zoo! The (majority of) students are molly-coddled through school with easy tests, they sit in the classroom playing PSP, doing their make-up and playing with their mobile phones and pay no attention to any of their lessons because they know there is no disciplinary action. The teachers are poop-scared of monster parents, so they don't do anything, except make sure the students don't fail. The teachers are under huge amounts of pressure and many have them have cracked and walk around the schools talking to themselves. This corporal punishment issue is the result of the teachers using bullying and intimidation to discipline the students because they have little alternative. The teachers are not allowed to remove unruly students from classrooms in public schools and if they do the students run home and tell mommy who calls the school and abuses them for stopping their getting an education, even though the kid sits in the class playing with his phone all day. The Japanese public education system is a flipping shambles! - I've worked in over twenty different high schools, both public and private and have seen teachers abusing, intimidating and hitting students many times.

22 ( +24 / -2 )

What a mess. If I have kids I will keep them out of the system at all costs. It's an abusive system. If not physically then psychologically.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

It is nice to hear at least they are actually somewhat enforcing Japan's laws, which makes clear a stance that corporal punishment is not permitted.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Disillusioned, well said!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I said it before and I'll say it again, time to "reform the entire education system in Japan". There are bad kids in the schools where parents are too tired or lack the ability to perform "parental skills" and leave it teachers to fill the role. Sorry but teachers are not parents and should not have that responsibility placed on them. They are there as educators, not parenting school, that can be found at etiquette school or the home. This is only the tip of an outdated system. The zombie generations is done. time to change, anyone can read the writing on the wall.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Matt: Agreed, it does depend on which school you go to, my comment was referring to public schools, not privet. In all fairness, the public schools ARE doing a lot about the bullying problems. The teachers meet with every student (once a month) to discuss any possible bullying issues. This program has been happening for the last year & half, due to the growing numbers of children that had committed suicide because of bullying.

When I spoke of children who are causing trouble, I'm talking about disruptive or disrespectful kids. I always say, "learning to be a good person is just as important of a lesson as being a good student".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It should be no surprise that home-schooling is becoming more popular in Japan. Private schools are ridiculously expensive, but have a similar 'no fail' schooling system. Public high schools are just a joke, and also very expensive. Five or six years ago the amount of children studying abroad dropped dramatically due to economic pressures. However, in the last two or three years it has picked up again because parents don't want their kids attending these zoos.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Great comment bjohnson23. Lots of parents who are not strict enough. Especialy those moms.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Both my kids attended a private Lutheran school in Kumamoto at a monthly tuition of about 35,000 yen. Rules were clear and enforced. Incidents of a cellphone or PSP even on campus, not to mention used in a classroom, rarely arose. The school is famous for sports and related activities, and such privileges would be yanked for brooking the rules - and the kids were terrified by this. In addition, parents were let known that multiple incidents would be dealt with by expulsion.

Excellent schools exist. Search them out.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I very much doubt that this was a "record high". Just that more were actually reported in 2013.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I very much doubt that this was a "record high". Just that more were actually reported in 2013.

I think you have misunderstood the headline. A record number of teachers are said to have been diciplined, which would equal the record number being reported.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A record high number of teachers were disciplined for using corporal punishment on their students in Japan in fiscal 2013, according to a survey by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

I had to sign such a form just a few weeks ago, declaring whether or not I had ever committed corporal punishment or witnessed it. I can't recall it being backdated to the previous fiscal year though. It seems rather odd that this information is being released so late. Be curious to hear from other posters working in the public school system here if they had to sign this declaration as well.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not saying that I EVER condone a teacher hitting someone in school but... remember how this was the way in North America and in the UK just 30 to 40 years ago. Just look at how kids behave today at that age and how they have NO respect for their teachers in those parts of the world. Don't believe, just go and visit a school now and be scared at what you see.

Back in those days we had a respect for our teacher but towards the 80's that was quickly falling apart. Rudeness was NOT tolerated but now if a teacher looks at a student the wrong way, that teacher seems to be in serious trouble. Some schools won't even allow their teachers to issue a failing grade because it could harm the student's mental development.

You see where I'm going with this. I don't condone violence but at the same time this is the beginning of the downward slide just as it has happened else where, it will happen here in Japan. First it was the western media influence and next it will be the educational system in Japan.

Go ahead and thumb me down, you'd only be taking the easy way out as so many parents have and pawned their kids off on to the system to deal with so they don't have to take responsibility. Then, they can do what everyone else appears to do these days and blame everyone else for their actions. Kids wouldn't get out of line if parents took the time to teach them right and wrong. Parents are the beginning of the problem but the public seems to give them a pass. The more thumbs down this comment gets the more my point holds true because it you.

Next to Japanese schools will come the violence amongst students while at school followed by the 'Police Liaison officers' posted to the schools and finally the metal detectors at school entrances. Hopefully they will keep the school uniforms or there's yet another world bullying hell that will happen if those go too.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@KnowBetter

Not saying that I EVER condone a teacher hitting someone in school but...

Sounds very much like you are condoning it. Have the guts to say so.

Back in those days we had a respect for our teacher

Please spare us that "In my day" rhetoric. I had little respect for plenty of teachers when I was a kid growing up in Australia. In particular a principal at a pretty exclusive private school who took to whipping my backside one day with a thick cane, stopping each time to check if I'd cracked and shed a tear. I refused to give him the satisfaction so I copped a real flogging. The reason for my punishment? Standing up to a bully who was punching a friend of mine, a weaker kid. The principal, what a man, saw me in a fight with this bully, decided he didn't need explanations despite protests from witnesses, marched us both up to his office and punished us. The bully was petrified and burst out crying before the first hit so he only got a couple of light ones and a telling off. My father upon hearing this all dropped everything, went up to the school, threatened to knock this cowardly principal's block off and promptly took me out of the school. That's pretty much how I'd feel if some teacher ever struck one of my kids.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

@banz10

I had little respect for plenty of teachers when I was a kid growing up in Australia.

Nobody can control your heart, but did you at least put up the proper attitude most of the time?

While I'm against corporal punishment, for your case, you and the bully, having chosen to use violence to settle your differences, are in a weak position to complain about the principal doing the same. The principal did not need explanations because he is subscribing to a doctrine that fighting is wrong - learning how to resolve your differences without fighting is more important than self-defense in his world. It is a popular attitude in schools.

The decision to beat you more severely is also logical, since the point of corporal punishment is not sadism, but educational. Since the bully conceded his wrongness, it is correct from the principal's viewpoint to not beat him so severely. You, on the other hand, were clearly recalcitrant.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

Nobody can control your heart, but did you at least put up the proper attitude most of the time?

Are you kidding? You don't know me and you weren't there. If you must know I happened to be a good kid who stayed out of trouble. I was respectful to teachers even if I didn't respect them. Who do you think you are?

While I'm against corporal punishment, for your case, you and the bully, having chosen to use violence to settle your differences, are in a weak position to complain about the principal doing the same.

Are you for real? What a ridiculous conclusion to make. I stood up for a defenseless little kid who was being beaten and ended up in a fight with the bully. Again, YOU WERE NOT THERE. That means you are NOT in any position to pass judgment. I stepped in, defended the victim, was then attacked by the bully so I defended myself. If I'd adopted your "resolve your differences without fighting" position on that day I'd have ended up in hospital. I've recounted this story many times and you're the first person to ever question me over it. What does that say about you? I'm sure most people reading my comments would have had the commonsense to realise my points. Teachers (past or present) automatically do not deserve respect. They have to earn it. Also, corporal punishment being outlawed was the correct thing to do.

The decision to beat you more severely is also logical, since the point of corporal punishment is not sadism, but educational.

Completely and utterly wrong in this case. But you're such an expert that it'd be easy to come to that nonsense conclusion even though you weren't there and didn't see the pleasure this principal was taking in his authority through violence. I saw it in this guy's eyes. When other kids pleaded to him that I was the innocent party he didn't want to know.

You, on the other hand, were clearly recalcitrant.

How exactly was I being recalcitrant? By telling the truth? By standing up for myself? He saw me fighting but he didn't want to hear it was in self defense. In your acquiescent, conforming, pathetic little world I guess the right thing to have done was to just admit I was wrong, apologise and beg for forgiveness. If you've got kids, I feel sorry for them if this is the attitude they're being brought up with.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Sadly enough, now Japan too has many messed up families, messed up kids and messed up teachers, schools. It is not an impossible situation but sadly enough way too many sexual perverts SHOULD NEVER BECOME TEACHERS, Japan really needs to work on a way to filter out these scum perverts the heck away from all schools.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Reading this, and especially 'disillusioned's comments, makes me wonder why the Japanese education system is held in such high regard in the west. There must be a lot of schools educating their students properly. That said, there is a way to treat students who misbehave, without ever resorting to violence or screaming or abusive language; it works well in my school. There's also a way to deal with monster parents!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

'Banz10' Sorry your Principal was an idiot. I don't condone hitting kids EVER but I was trying to 'suggest' that there was a direct correlation to the 'fear' of getting 'it' that kept students in check. I had several teachers that had black belts in martial arts and all would in non-injuring methods show you what 'bad things' could happen if you were to say 'spit ball' someone in class or throw a pen or pencil at someone. NOBODY fooled around in those classes AND YOU ACTUALLY LEARNED!!! Good luck with that today, that's what I am saying.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@KnowBetter

Sorry your Principal was an idiot.

Thanks. He was but he had the authority to carry out such disciplining in those days. It was what it was but thankfully sanity has since prevailed and teachers no longer have the authority to discipline physically.

I was trying to 'suggest' that there was a direct correlation to the 'fear' of getting 'it' that kept students in check.

Physical intimidation of kids may often work but it's just as morally a questionable tactic IMO. I'm a teacher myself and I know if I ever were to lose it that's my fault for not maintaining control of the class and my own emotions.

There will always be challenging students of course but good teachers need to have great social skills and an understanding of individuality. In other words, all kids are different and that fact needs to be approached accordingly. There are times to be strict, times to be sympathetic, times to be humorous and times to not be so anal. Kids are smart enough to see through your BS. A school teacher can't just be a stand-off educator like a university professor. But I also don't agree when some Japanese homeroom teachers try to assume a parent role and either smother or scold them like they're their own children. It's inappropriate to get so close emotionally. Care for them but keep a professional distance. There needs to be a proper balance.

All the best

1 ( +2 / -1 )

slumdogFEB. 01, 2015 - 01:16PM JST I think you have misunderstood the headline. A record number of teachers are said to have been diciplined, which would equal the record number being reported.

So you think that schools don't deal with some issues 'in-house'? Maybe the way I phrased that was a bit ambiguous... sorry: what I was implying is that on this issue (corporal punishment occurring in schools), regardless of whatever-it-is you're measuring or the metric is, it's very unlikely that it was anything like what's occurred in the past.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Isn't it sad parents can't be punished for failing to discipline their offspring and expect school teachers to do a job they could not themselves achieve at home?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

once i met a japanese father who had a son that will graduate this year in teaching field. Surprisingly he told me that he will ask his son not to be a teacher and should help in his business instead. He said that many cases of suicide in Japan also came from teaching profession!!! I agree with this phrase by presto345,

Isn't it sad parents can't be punished for failing to discipline their offspring and expect school teachers to do a job they could not themselves achieve at home?

i condemn personally whoever give bad for the comment

2 ( +2 / -0 )

'Marsi' "i condemn personally whoever give bad for the comment"

Funny you say that because that's what I was mentioning in my first post on this story and at the time I gave your comment and 'pretso345' comment a thumbs up they were both at 1 after I did that. People, the public and parents in general just don't get it, it's the parents job to teach children about basic right and wrong BEFORE they even make it to kindergarten. If a child doesn't have those skills by then, you've got a serious problem on your hands that's only going to get worse as time passes.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The highest ever recorded? Right....go back a decade or more and I'll bet there were 10 times this many incidents, but because it was never "recorded" folks have selective memories and choose to think that this is "a lot".

You sound like you disbelieve the statement, then immediately follow-up with a sentence that justifies why the statement is true. I have no trouble believing that this is the highest ever recorded. People are starting to realize that physical and mental abuse is not a "shoganai" incident and needs to be reported. Thus, while I highly doubt that the actual number of abuse incidents has risen (in fact with the new spotlights on the problem the number has probably fallen), the number that actually get REPORTED is still on the rise.

The Japanese education system created this problem and a larger problem is having far too many teachers employed who only take the jobs because of the security the job offers as komuin.

I think you have to go a bit farther back than that. The Japanese family culture created this problem back when it was commonplace for the father to backhand a child for getting out of line. Those children grew up to be educators and administrators and issued discipline the way it was handed to them. It's the only form of they knew. After all, if it was good enough for the family, then surely it's good enough for school, right? This cycle of handing down the abuse they received has to be broken.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

16 Good Bad DisillusionedFEB. 01, 2015 - 09:48AM JST “Such things should not be permitted in our country and we should strive to teach our children without the use of violence

Has this clown been into a public high school in the last twenty years? They are like a bloody zoo! The (majority of) students are molly-coddled through school with easy tests, they sit in the classroom playing PSP, doing their make-up and playing with their mobile phones and pay no attention to any of their lessons because they know there is no disciplinary action. The teachers are poop-scared of monster parents, so they don't do anything, except make sure the students don't fail. The teachers are under huge amounts of pressure and many have them have cracked and walk around the schools talking to themselves. This corporal punishment issue is the result of the teachers using bullying and intimidation to discipline the students because they have little alternative. The teachers are not allowed to remove unruly students from classrooms in public schools and if they do the students run home and tell mommy who calls the school and abuses them for stopping their getting an education, even though the kid sits in the class playing with his phone all day. The Japanese public education system is a flipping shambles! - I've worked in over twenty different high schools, both public and private and have seen teachers abusing, intimidating and hitting students many times.

Nail on the head

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For what it's worth, I taught at probably 20-30 elementary schools, and at a lot of them I saw some of the teachers going absolutely NUTS at the students. Full on shouting tirades, lasting for several minutes. I wondered if they were putting on a show to try and 'impress' the gaijin.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

mollycoddled

There is a lot of literature about this mollycoddling or "indulgence," since the earliest western visitors to Japan. There are lots of interesting hits for "Indulgence, Japanese, children" at Google books for instance.

The idea seems to be that rather disciplining children, the Japanese are indulgent but at the same time let them see what happens if they behave selfishly in groups; children are socialized by their peers and wider society rather than by parental or teacher discipline. But if teachers are hitting children, or going absolutely NUTS at the students, then this system is breaking down.

Could it be the emphasis now placed upon stamping out bullying? The instances of bullying have also increased but mainly I feel due to the push to have staff and children aware of being bullied which was previously endemic. For example, if a child comes late a teacher might say "It is a shame that this class does not assemble on time since i can't start the lecture" encouraging the late child to feel mentally, and at times even physically the social pressure to come on time. This use of the group dynamic may have been outlawed.

The use of non-corporal forms of teacher discipline, such as detention, or academic demerit often depend on a degree of cooperation on the part of the student who would need to have have been taught, through parental discipline, that punishment is the just retribution of bad behavior.

Since Japanese university students have, however, been indulged, and not disciplined they seem to be extremely capable of non-conforming with teacher instructions in class. For example, in English conversation classes, one teacher of my acquaintance insist that students ask follow up questions that the students make themselves rather than simply reading out the questions on the handout. Since making their own questions is a drag, students often refuse to conform and respond with a withering smiles when faced with a repeat request. So rather than repeating his requests, or giving up, when he reaches a student that is not following his instructions, he remind the whole class of the instruction. But in so doing he is in a sense encouraging the student to be bullied, to the extent at least of being the subject of attention of the whole class. As this sort of tactic becomes untenable, and there is yet to be a culture of parental discipline, it is not surprising that education should become frayed at the edges.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have never worked at a high school in Japan but have taught at three or four different junior high schools as an ALT, all of them public. While I saw bad behaviour at all of those schools I never really saw the students concerned getting punished by the teachers in any way, except for perhaps a slight verbal reprimand. I certainly never saw teachers physically punishing students. I think most of the time they are too scared of the consequences i.e. getting hit back or the parents getting involved etc. In my expereince teachers generally ignore the troublemakers which was infuriating for me. I once tried to take matters into my own hands by physically removing a bad ass from the class, but I got into hot water with the principal who understood my feeling, but basically said "you can't do that!". At the end of the day the ones who suffer most aside from the teachers are the students who actually want to study but can't due to the disruption of others.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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