School’s special phys ed slots axed

Kyodo

Special slots for physical education majors will no longer be offered at Osaka’s Sakuranomiya Senior High School, based on a recomendation Mayor Toru Hashimoto made after it was revealed that the captain of the school’s basketball team hanged himself after he was repeatedly beaten by his coach, the city board of education said.

Students of the school, which is famous for nurturing top athletes, and some of their parents oppose to the decision, however, apparently because the special slots were regarded as fast tracks for up-and-coming top athletes.

The five-member board decided Monday in a 4-1 vote to incorporate the 120 slots that were designated for two sports-related courses into the exams of applicants for general courses at the high school.

Hashimoto hailed the board’s decision, calling it “wonderful.”

All students taking the two courses — one for physical education majors and the other for sports health education — normally become members of one of the teams at the school, known for its strong sports curricula.

Hashimoto had sought to call off the allotment for sports-related majors after the board earlier this month revealed that the 17-year-old student committed suicide in late December after being repeatedly slapped by his basketball team coach. It was subsequently revealed that the coach had been routinely abusing members of the team for years, and later tried to justify his actions as a way to motivate his players.

In urging the board to refrain from soliciting students for the two sports-related major slots this year, Hashimoto asserted the suicide resulted from a practice by the school’s teams to place excessive importance on winning games.

The board of education has confirmed that corporal punishment was carried out on members of the basketball and other sports clubs at the school.