national

Teacher in Japan literally picks up truant kid, carries him out of house to make him go to class

62 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

In narrative fiction, there’s certain appeal to a teacher with a fiery commitment to their pupils’ academic development. The strong, dedicated educator who absolutely won’t give up on a kid, and won’t let them give up on themselves, is a celebrated archetype of schoolyard dramas in both animated and live-action formats.

But while fans might cheer as the teacher protagonist of an anime or J-drama shows they care enough to physically drag a truant student back to the classroom, that’s not always the best course of action in the real world, as evidenced by what happened in the town of Handa, Aichi Prefecture.

Sometime last fall, an elementary school boy started showing up to school less and less often, and once winter rolled around he stopped going almost entirely. His homeroom teacher decided she should pay a visit to the boy’s house to encourage him back to go back to school, and so she rang the doorbell of his family’s home on a school day in mid-December.

The boy’s parents were not home at the time, but he himself came to the entryway to talk with the teacher. However, he still refused to go to school and eventually broke off the conversation. The teacher then followed him into his kitchen, picked him up, carried him to her car, and drove him to school.

The boy’s older sister, who was home at the time, witnessed the academically motivated abduction and called her parents, who in turn contacted the school before the teacher arrived on campus, and the boy was allowed to return home without attending classes.

“I wanted to create an occasion for him to return to school,” explained the teacher, adding, “I thought I was doing the right thing.”

The school board, however, disagreed, and last week reprimanded the teacher for “conduct that ignored the boy’s feelings,” and has apologized to the family. It’s even more baffling to imagine what the teacher planned to do if she had successfully made the boy attend classes for the day, but then didn’t voluntarily come to school the day after. Was she planning to repeat the process every morning?

While educational zeal in and of itself is an admirable trait in a teacher, the boy’s dwindling attendance was related to interpersonal trouble with his schoolmate friends, and his mother says that out of respect for his mental state, she did not want to force him to go to school. One could make the argument that at a critical age in a child’s educational development, an extended absence from the learning process can have long-term detrimental effects, but the same can be said about emotional trauma in one’s formative years too.

In this case, if the teacher really was concerned about the boy falling academically, then scheduling a conference with his parents to discuss alternative educational formats really would have been the wiser choice than unilaterally deciding to essentially kidnap him.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News/CBC TV via Jin, Chunichi Shimbun

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese high school teacher in hot water after forcibly giving male student a buzz cut

-- Japanese middle school teacher kisses her student at Tokyo Disneyland during date, gets fired

-- Don’t like trigonometry? Then you’re just like Hitler, says Japanese high school English teacher

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

62 Comments
Login to comment

The parents didn't really care?

10 ( +16 / -6 )

One quick question. Why was the sister also at home? Was she too being bullied? Not really sure what the teachers motives were, but maybe she saw or knew the home was toxic and was trying to do anything to help the boy.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

It appears the writer covered it all. They start with a popular Japanese ‘trope’ that perpetuates immature and inexperienced ideas of perceived dedicated educators. (Perhaps the teacher read to many of these types of manga.)

The writer then argues both sides: the long term effects of extended absences & blatant truancy, contrast against the teacher’s obviously inappropriate methods.

Does she need a suspension, a sabbatical and some remedial training or, is her career in education now over?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

So now, a question remains for the author: Is the school system also doing something about the bullying or will that be, again, pushed to the side?

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Sooo instead of tackling the issue of their kid being bullied, they just... "respected his wishes to stay at home"? What kind of limp noodle response is that? Call the school, arrange a meeting with the principal, the teacher, the bully(ies) and their parents and suss it out!

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Good; should have given him some good hiding too.

Societies need more, not less of this type of teacher.

Little rascal!

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

The beating of children in Japan is not allowed but in typical Japanese style, offenders face no penalties.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

There's some information missing in this story - why was the boy's sister also at home?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

This teacher trespassed into a private residence, physically assaulted a child, and then abducted that child. Yet, there were no criminal charges filed. Weird.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Deal with the source of the issue which is the bullying! Sadly most japanese schools turn a blind eye or even condone some of this activity. The parents should also have made the school do something about the bullying instead of just giving up

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The abduction was entirely wrong but, there was no indication by the author that there was any “beating of children” as one poster may be inferring above. Perhaps the poster intended ‘no physical contact of any kind with any children should be allowed’ ?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

We do not know why the boy refused to go to school. If he has a legit reason, don't you think the school / teacher would already know about it. Obviously his teacher knows a skiver when she sees one.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

A lot of assumptions here. Lots of kids have "interpersonal trouble" with classmates that has nothing to do with bullying. You can work to stop bullying, but issues such as not fitting in are a a part of life that kids have to learn to deal with - it's not an issue of bullying but an issue of learning to adjust in life. Normally you can figure out which by talking to your child and talking to the teacher.

That said, if a child very strongly doesn't want to go to school, I don't think it's a good idea to force them. I think the detrimental effects of non-attendance are overblown, while the detrimental effects of attending what is (to the child) a daily prison are never considered. The actual education that takes place at school can be made up in a fraction of the time by anyone who wants to catch up.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Will agree here @P.Smith 7:50am with the terms “physically assaulted and abducted” with respect to the words “grabbed, picked up and carried” as penned by the author.

“…physically assaulted a child, and then abducted that child.

Perhaps it’s like some here have alleged accounts of NPA officer’s ‘invited to enter homes to check the welfare & condition of residents’ after a call,…

This teacher trespassed into a private residence,…” -

… the teacher was invited in to see he had company/supervision with the older sister. It became “trespassing” once the boy refused.

Yet, there were no criminal charges filed. Weird.

Agreed.

Perhaps the onus still remains on the writer to clarify many issues here rather than just sensationalizing many events in Japan and never really addressing their underlying societal shortcomings?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Heck, if a teacher acts like this in your own house, what is she like in a class? No wonder the kids didn't want to go to school.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

As others have pointed out, it may not be related to bullying. It could be any number of social pressures that are not obvious without discussion.

I was an assistant homeroom teacher, and one of our students slowly stopped coming classes towards the end of the year. The student had friends, was in a sports club, and socially appeared fine. Eventually the student came out and admitted to the homeroom teacher after many conferences (with and without parents) that the student felt too much pressure to perform academically. The majority of the students in our homeroom happened to be high performers (homerooms were decided randomly, not based on testing) and the troubled student was too stressed about keeping up with peers. The student, parents, and homeroom teacher came up with a plan for the next year about returning to school. Now the kid is fine and doesn't miss school.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

zichiToday  07:39 am JST

The beating of children in Japan is not allowed but in typical Japanese style, offenders face no penalties.

> 1( +2 / -1 )

There is no spanking ban in Japan though.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Aren't the parents spoiling him too much to allow him keep skipping school? He is merely a elementary kid. Can he really be allow to decide for himself whether to go or not? If that is true, no kid would go willingly to school anymore.

My parents always tease me that during my first year in a elementary school, i cried so much when i was left there.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I think Japanese teachers unfairly are responsible for raising Japanese children. And I sometimes understand the logic. Some parents should not be having children at all, and teachers (in theory) should have been properly trained to assist in the development of the children in their ward. Therefore, teachers take it personal when students are not living up to their potential and take it upon themselves to guide students.

Parents in developed countries should be required to get a license or certification to have children. It should be free and offered by the local government.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sad. The student's future doesn't seem bright. Perhaps home schooling? I understand a large number of foreign children in Japan do not attend school and cannot be forced to do so.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

My main question is to the parents about not teaching the kid to fight his own battles. Is the bullying being exaggerated by the parents as a projection of their own past or even present? Do they really want to create a hikikomori crippled for life by an external locus of control?

The teacher acted illegally in trespassing and abducting the child, too, although her triggers are understandable, and her heart obviously in the right place.

Perhaps mandatory education is not policed in the ways it is in other countries, where parents risk losing their children and even imprisonment. It's perhaps telling that there's actually no gimu kyoiku for foreign children resident in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is a lot of bullying in Japanese schools. i dont blame the boy for staying home. I hope he can be home schooled.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There are parents that do not want to force their children to do anything to a point where they never say "NO" to their child. I can't imagine what kind of a person that child will grow up to be, because even animals teach their ofsprings manners and punish them when they do something wrong.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The school board, however, disagreed, and last week reprimanded the teacher for “conduct that ignored the boy’s feelings,” and has apologized to the family.

and let that be a lesson to you Sensei. When it comes to passionately trying to save this kids life, THE SYSTEM will never have your back. ( nor did the kids useless parents ) Let him become one of the many hikikomori and live a tormented life wondering what could’ve been.

Just allow the mediocrity to permeate.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I knew this was a SoraNews article just from the title.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

OG tough love teacher. Need more like her.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Around one in thirty kids in Japan does not go to school. It is extremely common. Some kids "attend", but sit in the hokenshitsu, the nurse's room, all day and do not enter the actual classroom.

I think the most important thing to take away from this story is that despite this situation being extremely common (see above), the teacher decided to act on her own judgment and handled the problem in her own way. This means that teachers are not being trained to handle common classroom situations and there are no or drastically insufficient guidelines and punishments to stop them going rogue. Extensive research has been done into education and child psychology, but it's all being ignored and instead you just get what the teacher or school thinks is best.

My own experience with my kids in Japanese education is that if the teacher is good, everything is fine, but if not, it can be terrible. It is a complete roll of the dice. You get more consumer protection with a 5000 yen hair dryer.

Forcibly carrying a child to school sounds very traumatic for the child and will almost certainly not improve the situation.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Good job teacher, now his only opinion is suicide, which, happens a lot in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well said @kohakuebisu 10:25am:

- “Teachers are not being trained to handle common classroom situations and there are no, or drastically insufficient, guidelines & punishments to stop [teachers] going rogue. Extensive research has been done into education and child psychology, but it's all being ignored. Instead, you just get what the teacher or school thinks is best.” -

Friends abroad are curious why this is happening here. Is there a cite for this?:

- “Around one in thirty kids in Japan does not go to school. It is extremely common.” -

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Now that is a good teacher. Im sure the mother called them up and begged them to get him to school. I'm seeing a trend in students today having maturity problems, compared to my generation, that would not fly.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The fuzzy line between parent/teacher responsibilities in Japan has always concerned me. At least this teacher was only taking the student to school. I am sure there have been plenty of other occasions when teachers have done far worse.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Interesting insights @Mickelicious 9:23am:

- “not teaching to fight his own battles…bullying being exaggerated by the parents’ projection of their own past/present… create a hikikomori crippled for life by an external locus of control?” -

Yes, perhaps someone in the household may have some kind of trauma exacerbating the child’s situation,

- “The teacher acted illegally in trespassing and abducting the child, too,

Agreed, however, …

although ‘her “triggers” (?) are understandable,…

She’s a working, certified professional teacher. She’s Never allowed act on her own personal “triggers”. If she has ‘her own anxieties, disorders or neuroses’, then she needs a sabbatical, mental-health rehabilitation & therapy, some remedial education (as @kohakuebisu 10:25am asserts is missing from the school systems), …

or, a complete change of vocations.

- “Triggers are ‘external events or circumstances that may produce very uncomfortable emotional or psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety, panic, discouragement, despair, or negative self-talk.” -

Clients and students are allowed ‘triggers’ but not the educational professionals with our children each day in their formative years.

- “Reacting to triggers is normal, but we need to recognize them and respond to them ‘appropriately’.” -

Agreed. Totally illegal and inappropriate.

The parents, schools and government need to look at the ever-widening disconnect from parents, parents and teachers.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Here comes Truant Officer Donald.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ok that is over the top.

But I like how the school board reprimanded the teacher.

My daughter's last year of Jr high her teacher told her and a few other "half's" he didn't want them in his class and they were "contaminated blood!".

The school's (public) reaction when I found out, was " he is old and we know he does this" complaints to the ward school board got the same reaction.

So what we can conclude from this is teachers telling students not to go to school is acceptable but trying to make them go to school is not.

Wish I knew that 13 years ago, I wouldn't have wasted the energy and time complaining to the school and school board.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As is often the case two wrongs don't make a right.

The parents can be criticized for not seeking support for a child that is obviously having troubles serious enough to skip school for a long period, it is not an easy situation but just letting him stay at home is not a valid answer. That being said forcing the child to go to school is not a valid solution either. At least the parents have the excuse of not being professionals in child rearing, but the teacher is supposedly trained to recognize this was not a proper response.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

She cared too much. I learned here that it doesn't pay to care more about something than the people who are directly involved. They don't care so leave it alone.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@snowymountainhell

Having been here a very long time raised 2 on my own, I have noticed that far to often the enabler are the parents.

My children both know "locked in" friends and the parents instead of getting help more often just go along by letting them remain in their rooms bringing them breakfast, lunch and dinner to them, etc..

At this time I am dealing with another form of this enabling.

An elementary school girl living 2 buildings over will freeze, or run back up the street if I am outside working as she heads home.

At first I thought it was my imagination but the other children in the area told me her mother told her Gaijin men are dangerous, so she now will run any time she sees me.

I have long noticed this in Japan where parents ( mostly mother's) will build on their children's fears or ignore and enable them to continue with what are eventually detrimental to their futures.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

That is kidnapping.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Is the school system also doing something about the bullying or will that be, again, pushed to the side?

Absolutely NO! Japan prefers to ignore the problem because it creates more work and problems for others. The mother's reasoning for letting her 2 kids stay home ( the boy’s dwindling attendance was related to interpersonal trouble with his schoolmate friends, and his mother says that out of respect for his mental state, she did not want to force him to go to school.) is the same as why this problem runs rampant. Many students don't talk about things until its too late.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

That is kidnapping.

Ok!

But then it is also neglect of parental responsibilities!

The teacher went to far and the parents did to little!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

She cared too much. I learned here that it doesn't pay to care more about something than the people who are directly involved. They don't care so leave it alone.

No, she should have gotten in touch with the parents and the boy to learn why he does not want to go to school. Dragging him to school will not solve that problem.

But like others have already said, it makes one wonder if the parents themselves did anything. Letting the boy just stay at home will not solve this whole situation as well.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

According to this article, non-attendance ("futo-ko-" in Japanese) is 1% for elementary and about 4% for junior high. They count kids who miss 30 days or more.

https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2020102200982&g=soc

It is a grey area whether kids who go to school but sit in the hokenshitsu or the lunch room away from the classroom are counted as "attending". I bet most of them are for convenience purposes, which would mean more kids do not attend class than the Ministry of Education is willing to admit.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%BF%9D%E5%81%A5%E5%AE%A4%E7%99%BB%E6%A0%A1

We know a child who stopped going to elementary for three weeks due to stress from competing with classmates at a sports club. This was a perfectly-adjusted top of the class kid who you would never imagine missing school. The child liked school, and the pressure was either self-created or came from the club or other club members. It wasn't from the parents. In that case, the teacher, who the child liked, was able to rescue the situation. I'm sure children with bad home situations are much more likely to have problems with school, but based on what we saw with the child I have described, I would say all children are at risk from anxiety. This can happen for a myriad of reasons, not just ones that can be blamed on people's shortcomings.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

That boy and his parents are lucky, in my country it would not have been the teacher who picked him up for school, it would have been the police.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There are other social factors at play in Japan.

My ex-wife is bipolar and I tried getting her to go for help but the family blocked every attempt.

Why? Well simple because of the brother and cousins.

If a sibling or close relative has some disability or mental issue this makes it more difficult for them to find a spouse.

My ex only got help after her brother made it clear he was never planning on getting married ( don't know the reasons never asked) and he made her get help.

By that time our marriage had long been over, her relationship with her children damaged nearly to the point of not being able to fix ( they have a tentative relationship but at best it is cordial).

Many families do not want to acknowledge one of their children has a mental issue especially if they have other children as this will be a problem.

So like was often done in the past in many western countries they hide those with mental or serious physical disabilities from birth.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Anyone not related to a child and removing them from their home without their permission and the permission of the parents is a kidnapping.

There are no facts in the post about why the boy stopped going to school.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Antiquesaving

I have long noticed this in Japan where parents ( mostly mother's) will build on their children's fears or ignore and enable them to continue with what are eventually detrimental to their futures.

Irrational fear is learned through personal experience or taught from others. It is like a parent being afraid of dogs, and a child grows seeing their parent's response and believes that they should be afraid to without ever having the same experience.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Definitely need more info on the situation.

But initial reaction is, they ALL crazy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Antiquesaving

At first I thought it was my imagination but the other children in the area told me her mother told her Gaijin men are dangerous, so she now will run any time she sees me.

Ironically, Japanese mothers are more like to cause harm or death to children than foreign men!

That won't tell their children that!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

She had no right to enter the home, or to physically touch the child. In Japan, those who take the law into their own hands, or attempt to enforce rules they have no authority enforcing, are playing with fire.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

According to this article, non-attendance ("futo-ko-" in Japanese) is 1% for elementary and about 4% for junior high. They count kids who miss 30 days or more.

https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2020102200982&g=soc

It is a grey area whether kids who go to school but sit in the hokenshitsu or the lunch room away from the classroom are counted as "attending". I bet most of them are for convenience purposes, which would mean more kids do not attend class than the Ministry of Education is willing to admit.

Japanese elementary school teachers teach the same class of students for 6 years. They do not change classes or teachers. The only way a student can fail or repeat a grade is because of attendance. Japanese elementary schools rarely repeat or hold students back a grade because it would mean the child would have to join another class with new students and teachers who have been together for a while. Thus, it will make everything musukashii!

This is another reason why elementary school teachers sometimes go to extreme efforts because they will be with these kids for 6 years. It is natural for them to become invested in the children.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@kohakuebisu

It is a grey area whether kids who go to school but sit in the hokenshitsu or the lunch room away from the classroom are counted as "attending". 

Most Japanese schools do not have cafeterias or lunch rooms. The students eat in the classroom.

You are talking about Japanese universities!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Both parents were not at home, and both children did not attend school.

Teachers facing such a situation should report their absence regularly to the headmaster but refrain to interfere otherwise.

Some Japanese people - like this teacher - are too eager 'to help'. However as a teacher you cannot enter the home of this boy while the parents are not at home and bring him forcibly to school without the decisive permission of his parents.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese elementary school teachers teach the same class of students for 6 years. They do not change classes or teachers. 

Where did you get that from?

In public elementary and jr high teachers changes every 2 years.

1st and 2nd grade same teacher, 3rd and 4th different teacher, 5th and 6th again a different teacher this was what my children had, this was what every child in the public schools in our Tokyo ward had.

And what my wife had and her siblings in a different prefecture.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

An issue here is why the parents didn't communicate to the school the reasons for the child's absenteeism, then arranged effective measures including counselling. Perhaps the parents felt shame or embarrassment about their child's difficulties. Perhaps there are other reasons. But the key to solving this kind of issue is effective home-school partnership.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My kids elementary and JHS have lunch rooms. Schools are different in every prefecture. The act of going to school but sitting in another room is called "hokenshitsu-tou-kou" as per the Wikipedia link, because the hoken-shitsu is the most common other room for kids to study in.

This is getting very TL:DR but the main point is that non-attendance is very common and teachers should be trained about established strategies to deal with it. If they were, they would not turn up and drag a child out of the house. This may be an extreme case, but this lack of training or a rule book is bound to manifest itself in other, more common aspects of classroom management and caring for children.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sooo instead of tackling the issue of their kid being bullied, they just... "respected his wishes to stay at home"? What kind of limp noodle response is that? Call the school, arrange a meeting with the principal, the teacher, the bully(ies) and their parents and suss it out!

Don't be silly, a kid getting bullied (potentially to eventual suicide) and skipping out on education is vastly preferable to a verbal confrontation!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Man, from where I'm from, the school will call your house up if you skip school for more than three days without any prior permission. I've seen my classmates who tried skipping class being visited by my teachers and getting into trouble for it. Until I knew any better, I've never imagined Japan to be lax in enforcing discipline on its students. I really wonder what is the kid's side in this story, there has to be a good reason for him to skip school aside from wanting to play video games, watch anime and read manga all way. The irony here is this, schools in Japan (in comparison to where I'm from) are very lax in terms of discipline (kids sleeping in class, skipping school, playing games on phones) but are insanely strict in the work place.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Years ago in uk there used to be a truant officer. They came to the home and if the child was home brought the child to school. The parents, if at home, were read the riot act and sent warning letters. Few truancy when I was at school

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Antiquesaving

Where did you get that from?

In public elementary and jr high teachers changes every 2 years.

Simple answer..............................from my children, our teacher conference meetings, and moving through 2 prefectures my final being in my Japanese ward in Tokyo. They do not automatically change every 2 years. If they changed it is probably because those teachers were rotated to a new school. In places where the teachers do not rotate as often stay with same students until the end.

My kids elementary and JHS have lunch rooms. Schools are different in every prefecture. The act of going to school but sitting in another room is called "hokenshitsu-tou-kou" as per the Wikipedia link, because the hoken-shitsu is the most common other room for kids to study in.

@Kohakuebisu............Very few Japanese schools have a cafeteria. Students eat lunch in their classroom at their desk. I have yet to see a public elementary school where the students did not eat in the classroom. In fact, part of the process is for the students in the class at least our school to take turns being responsible for distributing the meals in the class. Students pay a monthly fee for lunch. Students turn the desks into to tables. Students distribute the food brought into class by the cooks. I have eaten with the kids at school and I had to pay for the meal that day. Everyone eat the same lunch including the teacher. The teacher eats lunch in the class with the students.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't get it. I was bullied throughout my twelve years of school for my appearance and my name but never was there a day when I didn't want to go to school because of it. "Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt me" was the rule. Go to class, study hard and do well so you can go to college and leave the bullies behind. I never sat at home sulking. Feelings hurt? So what. Get to work.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't get it. I was bullied throughout my twelve years of school for my appearance and my name but never was there a day when I didn't want to go to school because of it.

Some kids are more sensitive than others, and that's ok. Also consider a kid that has never been bullied, suddenly getting it one day - the shock is going to be significantly more than for a kid who has learned to deal with it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Learning is from the top down, not the bottom up at a desk. Refusal to go to school is a symptom of much larger problems. Also, not everyone has to study the same subjects as parents and grandparents. Schools need to allow students to specialize in subjects in high school, grade 1.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites