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2013年2月18日 (月)

桜宮高教諭免職 暴力許す風潮の一掃を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 18, 2013)
Sakuranomiya case a chance to stamp out violence at schools
桜宮高教諭免職 暴力許す風潮の一掃を急げ(2月17日付・読売社説)

We hope the firing of a teacher over the suicide of a student at Sakuranomiya High School in Osaka will become an opportunity to stamp out the scourge of violence at schools.

The Osaka Municipal Board of Education has sacked the teacher who was coach of the public school's basketball club. A boy killed himself after being physically abused by the teacher.

It has become apparent that the teacher was poorly suited to being a coach. The board of education was quite right to punish him severely.

The board's decision followed a report by an independent investigation panel consisting of lawyers, which acknowledged that the student committed suicide after being abused by the teacher.

According to the report, the teacher repeatedly slapped the boy's face over his performance in a practice match the day before he killed himself.

"The student suffered physical and mental distress because he was violently abused in front of others," the report said. "There is no way these actions can be justified."

Moreover, the report pointed out that the teacher regularly meted out violent punishment to several other students in the club, mainly by slapping and kicking them. By using the expression "violence," not "corporal punishment," the report showed that the teacher's behavior did not fall within the definition of coaching.


Attitudes must change

The teacher reportedly believed that hitting students was "an effective part of coaching." Some parents of students at the school regard the teacher as a devoted coach, and a petition has been submitted to the board of education calling for him to be treated leniently.

However, schools and parents should take it to heart that attitudes like this have allowed some teachers to commit relentless and unreasonable abuse against students.

The board of education has suspended for six months another teacher at Sakuranomiya who is head coach of its boys' volleyball club because he physically punished a student in November last year. This teacher had been suspended for three months in 2011 for similar actions.

The board also has replaced the school's principal. This reflects the fact that he failed to make a prompt report to the education board after becoming aware that the teacher had again used violence in the volleyball club.

To help Sakuranomiya get back on its feet, most teachers working there should be replaced and extensive training programs must be implemented for new teachers so they will never resort to physical punishment.


Other cases exposed

In addition to Sakuranomiya, a string of cases involving corporal punishment have been revealed during club activities at other schools, including powerhouses such as a track and field club at an Aichi prefectural government-run high school and a wrestling club at a Kyoto prefectural government-run high school.

These reports seem to prove that the misguided perception that some physical punishment can be allowed for the sake of sports victories remains entrenched among many coaches.

Allowing this issue to go unaddressed will ensure there is no end to the vicious cycle in which students who suffered corporal punishment commit similar actions when they later become coaches.

Boards of education nationwide have been conducting surveys on physical punishment following an instruction from the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry. They must uncover every single case so corporal punishment can be wiped out from schools.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 17, 2013)
(2013年2月17日01時26分  読売新聞)


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