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2012年11月24日 (土)

いじめ緊急調査 子供をしっかりと見守りたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 24, 2012)
Children need to be watched over attentively
いじめ緊急調査 子供をしっかりと見守りたい(11月23日付・読売社説)

It is important for teachers in the classroom to continuously watch children attentively, rather than haphazardly doing so.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry has released the results of an emergency survey on bullying in school. The survey was conducted this summer following an incident in which a middle school boy, who had been viciously bullied, committed suicide in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture.

The number of bullying cases confirmed at the nation's primary, middle and high schools totaled about 144,000 in about six months since April, more than twice the number for all of the last academic year.

The education ministry explains the sharp increase is due to the fact that "teachers have become more aware of bullying in school, helping schools grasp the real situation."

On the basis of the latest findings, schools and education boards must bring to light problems related to student guidance and correct them to deal with bullying.

Put another way, however, it seems teachers had been insensitive to school bullying.


Increase in violent bullying

The current situation at primary schools is worrisome. The number of school bullying cases has increased by as much as about 50,000 so far this year, compared to the total logged last academic year.

Marked increases are seen in bullying such as "ridicule" and "ostracism or snubbing." Also on the rise are such malicious acts as "extortion of money or goods" and "severe beatings."

Even if they may initially be mere pranks, they often escalate into more malicious actions if left uncorrected. Early responses are important.

If a bullying incident is serious, which may also be a criminal act, schools should not hesitate to report the case to the police.

The number of cases the schools judged as possibly putting a child's life at risk was 278. Bullied children must be suffering serious psychological trauma, and continuous mental care and guidance is needed by them.

The roles to be assumed by teachers who deal with children are extremely important.

Regrettably, however, there appears to be no end to teachers who can be labeled as "lacking both awareness of bullying and leadership abilities."


Teachers must respond

A typical case was one in which a first-year boy at a public middle school in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, committed suicide in September.

Despite having been aware the boy had often been called "creepy" and had his school supplies damaged, his teacher did not take the case seriously and failed to deal with it appropriately.

Such blunders should not be repeated. It is also essential for teachers to create an environment in school where bullying is discouraged, through daily classwork and extracurricular activities.

Some ways to address the issue include having students read a court judgment of a bullying case, and helping them learn what sort of action may constitute bullying. Also, senior students can be given the task of taking care of junior ones at school events such as sports meets. During class, students are encouraged to praise each other's good points. These are efforts being made in various parts of the country.

We hope that by making these efforts continuously, bullying in school can be nipped in the bud.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 23, 2012)
(2012年11月23日01時49分  読売新聞)


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