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2013年8月13日 (火)

体罰最終報告 暴力根絶の意識を浸透させよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun August 13, 2013
Ending corporal punishment in schools requires greater awareness of issue
体罰最終報告 暴力根絶の意識を浸透させよ(8月11日付・読売社説)

The recent revelation of such a huge number of corporal punishment cases in schools across Japan must be taken gravely by school authorities and teachers. The disclosure must lead to better endeavors to effectively prevent such incidents from happening again.

A final report compiled by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry on surveys on physical punishment by schoolteachers, which was released Friday, showed there were 6,721 cases at national, municipal and private schools nationwide in which teachers physically punished students during the academic year to March 31. Cases of corporal punishment were confirmed at 4,152 schools, or about 10 percent of the total, and 14,208 students were subjected to it.

Previous surveys had been limited to publicly operated schools, and usually found about 400 cases of physical punishment each year.

The ministry report incorporated a far wider range of surveys, including questionnaires completed by students as well as parents and guardians, that were conducted for the first time in the wake of the suicide in December of a second-year student at Sakuranomiya High School, run by the Osaka municipal government, after he was physically punished by his basketball club coach. As a result, it exposed a much greater number of corporal punishment cases.

Notwithstanding the fact that public awareness of corporal punishment has surged after the Sakuranomiya case and efforts to uncover physical punishment have been beefed up, the difference in the findings of the latest and previous surveys is astounding. We cannot help but assume that previous efforts by boards of education and school authorities to gauge the true extent of the problem were terribly insufficient.

Schools and boards of education must establish arrangements to ensure cases of corporal punishment are detected as early as possible by such means as regular questionnaire surveys and creating a consultation service to accept reports from students subjected to such punishment.

Misguided ‘tough love’

Actions that inflict physical and emotional pain on students must never be permitted. Eliminating corporal punishment by instilling this awareness in every facet of school education is the most pressing task.

At primary schools, cases involving students being slapped in class stood out, according to the ministry.

About 40 percent of cases of corporal punishment at middle and high schools happened during extracurricular club activities, the survey found.

A mistaken belief that tolerates corporal punishment as “tough love” in the name of sports discipline remains entrenched among instructors of school sports clubs.

The superviser of a high school baseball club who was disciplined after it was revealed he had physically punished his students reportedly justified his behavior by saying he “wanted to make my club’s members stronger.”

The former Sakuranomiya High School basketball club coach, who also was a physical education teacher, has been indicted without arrest on charges of inflicting violence and injuring the student who committed suicide.

We urge all teachers to bear deeply in mind that corporal punishment is not only prohibited under the School Education Law, but that vicious cases could also result in them facing criminal charges.

It is also essential, however, to help teachers understand the proper distinction between corporal punishment and providing instruction. But if a teacher is softer than necessary when instructing students to the extent they become unable to strictly handle disruptive students, this also could be problematic from an educational point of view.

In March, the education ministry compiled a set of criteria spelling out what actions constitute corporal punishment. The guidelines say, for example, that teachers are within their rights to pin down a student who kicked a teacher’s leg in an act of defiance.

We hope boards of education and other relevant organs improve training courses for teachers so they can acquire the instruction capability needed to scold students properly and calmly, and without getting swayed by emotion.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 11, 2013)
(2013年8月11日01時17分  読売新聞)


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