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Teacher disciplined for drinking alcohol during class in Okinawa

43 Comments
By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

Japanese schools are known for enforcing strict regulations, and one of the most common rules implemented by a large majority of schools is a no-drinking policy during class-times. It’s not just students who aren’t allowed to drink during class either, it’s a frowned-upon act for teachers too, given that they should be setting a good example for the children.

Sadly, not all teachers care about setting a good example, however, as evidenced by one elementary school teacher on the main island of Okinawa Prefecture recently. According to the prefectural board of education, the 51-year-old teacher wasn’t just sipping on water or juice while teaching — he was found to have been imbibing alcohol during class.

The incident occurred on two occasions, with the teacher drinking a 350-milliliter can of chu-hai at the front of the classroom during class on Feb 22, and then again on Feb 26, while the students were working on individual tasks.

▼ A Chu-hai (often rendered as “Chu-Hi”) combines shochu, a distilled spirit, with carbonated water and a flavor like fruit juice, and can contain as much as 12-percent alcohol.

Chu-hi-cans-Japan-.jpg

A wide variety of chu-hai brands exist on the market, and while it’s not known which one the teacher was drinking, a student in the class at the time recognized the can to be an alcoholic beverage and reported it to another teacher on 26 February.

When questioned by fellow staff, the teacher admitted to drinking alcohol in class, expressing remorse and saying he “drank it on impulse“.

On April 15, the Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education told the media that the teacher had been disciplined with a ten-percent reduction in salary for three months, in accordance with the Local Public Service Act.

The head of the prefectural board of education apologized for the teacher’s actions, saying it was not correct conduct for a civil servant in the education system. He also said the board would strive to restore trust and prevent a recurrence by tightening disciplinary actions for staff and ensuring thorough implementation of the Public Service Act throughout schools in the region.

Restoring trust ought to be high on the list of priorities for board of educations throughout Japan right now, given that another elementary school teacher in Japan was recently disciplined for hiding students’ shoes and writing “die” on their belongings.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun via Jin

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© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

43 Comments
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when I very first came to Japan, I strolled into a new morning class of six students with a can of grapefruit chu-hi thinking it was grapefruit juice, to their shock/amusement

27 ( +31 / -4 )

That’s just flat out funny! What was he thinking? I was admonished for siping water during a class in the height of summer, and again for blowing my nose? Then wearing deodorant? I left it just wasn’t worth the hassle.

And all that happened to this teacher is a salary cut? How about recognizing he has a problem and sponsoring him on an alcohol program. He could then teach about substance addiction. A more positive outcome for all.

21 ( +25 / -4 )

Getting tanked in class, writing 'die' on students clothing, bullying, corporal punishnent, hiding cameras in toilets, pulling a gun on your students. . . What do you have to do to actually get fired in Japan?

29 ( +29 / -0 )

Japanese schools are known for enforcing strict regulations, one of the most common rules implemented by a large majority of schools is a no-drinking policy during class-times.

Wait, a no-drinking policy at an elementary school is considered a "strict policy"?

And its only a policy at "a large majority of schools".... not all?

15 ( +17 / -2 )

He should have also received alcohol counseling. I doubt if this was a one time thing and the board not recommending counceling only shows their own ignorance. Okinawa has a drinking problem and not addressing it correctly is not the way to regain trust. Far from it....

6 ( +9 / -3 )

He needs help.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

You'd think a teacher would be smart enough to pour his shochu into a water glass instead of drinking it straight from the can. Even if students didn't know what it was, other adults working at the school would.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

the Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education told the media that the teacher had been disciplined with a ten-percent reduction in salary for three months, in accordance with the Local Public Service Act.

I was admonished for siping water during a class in the height of summer, and again for blowing my nose? Then wearing deodorant? I left it just wasn’t worth the hassle.

And all that happened to this teacher is a salary cut?

Of course! You are a foreigner. And that means that you get shafted while the Japanese teacher gets treated with Kiddy gloves. What did you expect? Justice and fair play in Japan? Come on mate!

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Serious drink problems. Needs to be offered help.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Man those must be some tough kids to drive him to drink.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I got reprimanded for chewing gum when I first started out as an ALT in Japan..It was a really rough school and a few of the teachers would get really agressive with the kids and vice versa..The 'yankee' kids would drink chu hi in the toilets and smoke on the school grounds!

Glad I am not an ALT anymore!!

14 ( +16 / -2 )

He probably could teach better after one of those delicious Chu-Hi with their amazing taste!

"Teacher disciplined for drinking alcohol during class in Okinawa"

5 ( +9 / -4 )

You gotta love the fact that teachers drinking in class is "frowned upon."

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Am still not a fan of smoking in front of school gates too. Teachers still take frequent smoke breaks, and go to teach with that smoke stench still lingering. I remember at one rural school, Some JHS boys decided to smoke at the school gate too. It does make sense right? Role models!

11 ( +13 / -2 )

A wide variety of chu-hai brands exist on the market

....but we'll only show you Sapporo brand.... product-placement comes to JT.... (⌒▽⌒)

6 ( +6 / -0 )

when I very first came to Japan, I strolled into a new morning class of six students with a can of grapefruit chu-hi thinking it was grapefruit juice, to their shock/amusement

I did the same thing, although classes hadn't started yet. I strolled into a new teacher orientation meeting thinking it was grapefruit juice. That was back when chu-hi's were only 5% alcohol. I don't think I even got a buzz from it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Wait, a no-drinking policy at an elementary school is considered a "strict policy"?

*And its only a policy at "a large majority of schools".... not all?*

Kids get thirsty, so yes it is strict. The rule is against any kind of drink guys, not alcohol.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It's the only way to survive the monotony of students who never speak.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

They all know you wait until BETWEEN the classes in the staffroom!

This is a nation with a serious alcohol problem. Honestly, they need stricter laws.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Hell It's Okinawa! I am not surprised it doesnt happen more often!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Divinda,

that ‘no drinking’ rule means no water/juice etc either. I found this rule to be horrid, especially thinking of the hot summers with no a/c in many classes. I think people should be allowed to drink water whenever they feel the need to do so.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@Michael Machida

Today 08:27 am JST

"He probably could teach better after one of those delicious Chu-Hi with their amazing taste!"

That's it! My morning chuckle. Posts like this one are very enjoyable to read. More of that!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I wonder what kind of work environment is in that school for the teacher to feel it was fine to do something that is not acceptable anywhere.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Hey we alll do itt.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Come on, it's Okinawa, you know people down there are wilder than mainlanders. I don't see the problem.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

El Rata

If you don't see the problem then you have a problem.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Strict regulations. Yeah, sure. The teacher gets disciplined with a modest pay cut for doing this twice. What a farce! Next time maybe they'll strongly urge him to reconsider his actions. Glad he had no connection to the U.S. bases. The aggrieved protesters would be out in force marching in the streets with shaven heads.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Big ado about nothing. That is just the only way to stand that job everyday without other bigger health or mental damage. a job nowadays consisting of too much bureaucracy and too many pupils neither willing to learn nor being capable of understanding what has to be taught by directives from the education ministry. Even when I was at high school, there were already a few teachers drinking and smoking like crazy. That was some decades ago and still under much better conditions for both sides. lol

1 ( +5 / -4 )

As long as they don’t drive, and are not drunk, I can’t see anything wrong with this. Teachers in japan have massive stress, and an odd can would probably be a good thing.

smoking cigarettes is a different matter though.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

A Chu-hai (often rendered as “Chu-Hi”) combines shochu, a distilled spirit, with carbonated water and a flavor like fruit juice, and can contain as much as 12-percent alcohol.

Traditionally they contain shochu, but as you can see on the yellow can in the picture, that one uses "high purity vodka".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He just couldn't wait for remote work. Or maybe that was the cause?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I mean, come on...really? This is wrong on so many levels.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

My English teacher used to take a few sips of whiskey, stashed in the bottom drawer of her desk, in between classes. He teaching usually got a little more "vigorous" after lunch. The moral of the message to this article is don't get caught.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I dont see there being a problem with kids drinking water or juice in class, but booze? no way, not the kids or teachers.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

These kinds of things can be resoled easily. An international school in Tokyo did not stop the physics teacher from smoking in class. Instead, they put a ventilation fan in for him. Smart headmaster.

The Principal at this Japanese school could have given him a suito and said use that instead.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Getting tanked in class, writing 'die' on students clothing, bullying, corporal punishnent, hiding cameras in toilets, pulling a gun on your students. . . What do you have to do to actually get fired in Japan?

Punching down is fine, just don't punch up. That's how you get fired.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

His mistake was drinking in front of the students. Just pour it into a drink flask, chu-hi is a good choice as it doesn't smell too strongly of alcohol. Those 12% ones were a Godsend! Rum in coffee works well too. If anyone asks just tell them its Arabic style cardamon coffee.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I taught at a high school in Oita in 1993 and my colleague was a Japanese male English teacher who drank shochuu every night. He would literally be red-faced every morning with the smell of alcohol coming from his body. Everyone found it amusing. Not surprisingly he later got divorced.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I got reprimanded for chewing gum when I first started out as an ALT in Japan.

I don't know what's sadder, the fact that a grown adult would chew gum in any setting requiring even a hint of professionalism, or the 15 thumbs up.

Then again, Japan has never been particular about who they allow into classrooms.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Alcoholism is a disease and he obviously has it if he felt he needed a drink while in the classroom in front of students.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Vodka, no smell and looks like water

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Ethanol, an industrial organic solvent produced from rotten vegetable refuse, is NOT addictive nor does it make its victims do the most foolish behaviors..." B'wah ha ha ha "Drug free Japan" fer shure... jeez...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can understand the "impulse" temptation to have one during work, but please use some common sense. Excuse yourself and go the bathroom where you can hide these "impulses " from your students.

10% payout for 3 months will turn out to be an expensive drink.

Not sure how much an elementary school teacher would make but just guessing monthly pay at Y300,000 x 10%= Y30,000 X 3 months= Y900,000 or around $1000. USD

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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