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Main parties agree on anti-bullying draft bill


Delegates from Japan's main political parties have agreed on a revised draft bill to combat bullying in the nation's schools.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party drafted an anti-bullying bill in January, in which it defined a variety of types of bullying, including malicious Internet postings. The new draft bill is expected to be passed during the current Diet session.

The LDP called on its coalition partner New Komeito and the opposition parties, including the Democratic Party of Japan, for their cooperation in revising the bill, which seeks a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of bullying, TV Asahi reported Wednesday.

The bill calls for systems to be set up in schools to deal with bullying more efficiently. It also allows boards of education to investigate more serious cases, such as those in which a student's life is in danger. Bullies will be required to take classes in separate classrooms.

If the bill passes, the results of those investigations may be disclosed to parents and victims of bullying.

The draft bill also empowers local governments to call on third-party organizations for the purpose of investigating serious cases, in the event that the board of education fails to gather sufficient data, TV Asahi reported.

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Does zero-tolerance really work to reduce bullying? I don't think true bullies care about getting in trouble. Zero tolerance has unintended consequences. It permits teachers and school officials to fully abandon common sense and make mandatory punishment for everything. Look at the litany of examples of zero-tolerance absurdity in the US...kids suspended and punished for chewing a cookie into the shape of a gun, drawing a knife or playing cops n robbers on the playground. It teaches kids about the relentless bullying power of the state and bureaucracy, the abandonment of common-sense or context, and enshrines an irrational hypocrisy in a world of humans where bullying is a natural feature, and in a country where bullying by and blind obedience to the older, more powerful or entitled are unspoken core principles. What better way to demonstrate to young minds the necessity of unquestioning obedience to "authority" than to remove even the possibility of question or reason by adopting "zero tolerance". Check back in 10 years...bullying won't have stopped or changed at all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Punishment doesn't work. Conflict Resolution programs, such as peer mediation, can work so that more children are empowered to express themselves and help each other. But that means giving kids more responsibilities and a way to develop themselves. Authorities don't want that. This is more of the same. It does nothing to alter the "culture" of schools.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think zero tolerance is good and shows a determination, time to expose those bullies.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Behind closed doors the Socialist Party of Japan was told to sign onto the bill and give up all their lunch money or else.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Zero tolerance sounds great in theory. Who could object to that? And so of course the bill passes. Now what about implementation? How is that going to work? Who decides that this or that event was "bullying" and will receive the automatic, full consequences without review, appeal or commonsense adjustment? A kid pushed my kid over at school in the playground. Was that bullying? A kid is bullied by others who make sure to do it when no teacher is around, and they deny it when he complains. The parents complain but the teacher says "I have no proof, maybe your kid is bad too, that's what the others say..." Finally after months, the victim finally fights back, is caught and suspended for bullying...yet he was the victim.

The reality is, bullying exists everywhere. There should be better enforcement and handling of bullying at schools. That's obvious. But is zero tolerance really the effective tool? Just asking an honest question here. To me, it seems like it won't change bullying, just crystallizes and magnifies certain problems of application and enforcement relating to bullying by giving full automatic consequences to the judgment of this or that player. If anything, it teaches kids to take it underground.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Boxing also works.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This sounds about as effective as their new rules against the kyakubiki in Shinjuku or their posters against suicide. While a good idea in concept, without looking deeper into the causes of bullying, a demand for more responsibility and harsher punishments, I doubt this will accomplish much but make all these bill pushers feel better about themselves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The new bill would have a bullies classroom. Basically, sending the minor convicts to learn how to be major convicts. Isolation is good because the problem kids disrupt everyone else. The problem is that these kids need additional attention and need to fit in with the other kids or be a social outcast.

So, there needs to be additional staff trained to address and counsel the kids and their parents, and to maintain and enforce order in the classroom. If a kid keeps disrupting the classroom, take them out of class and inform the parents that the behavior must stop or the kid isn't welcome in the school. The parents will then have to deal with the problem rather than passing off the problem to other kids and parents.

The new should also include a teacher, school administrator, and city hall worker room with a one way door to the street for those who are unwilling to take this stuff seriously or who downplays the seriousness of this behavior.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bullies will be required to take classes in separate classrooms.

Sorry, but that does not sound like "zero tolerance". Zero tolerance is expulsion, not just moving them down the hallway to a separate classroom where they can hone their skills. Japan really is a joke.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How about teaching life skills , coping skills, and self defence to those who feel bullied/threatened and to those who want to bully teach social etiquette, social interaction skills, manners and consquence of action.

Legislation is not treating the problem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Bullies will be required to take classes in separate classrooms."

An excellent idea. Countless students remove themselves from school and deny themselves an education because they simply can't face the bullies. Get the bullies out of the picture somewhat and allow all students a fair go at school.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Zero Tolerance? Frightening prospect. Careful with who you make fun of, or tease. So many crybabies out there that definitely will cry to the authorities over anything.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Behind closed doors the Socialist Party of Japan was told to sign onto the bill and give up all their lunch money or else.

The Communist Part of Japan was approached with the same ultimatum, but negotiated to only having to give half of their lunch money.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I won't be truly convinced until suspension and expulsion are on the table, as well as the possibility of police being called in.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And if the teacher is the bully?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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