Over 5,000 teachers physically disciplined more than 10,000 students

Corporal punishment rife in schools in 2012: survey

JIJI

An education ministry survey has found that more than 10,000 students received corporal punishment from more than 5,000 teachers across Japan in fiscal 2012.

According to a preliminary survey report released in April, 840 teachers at 752 schools physically punished 1,890 students in the 10 months from the start of the last fiscal year in April 2012.

However, in a follow-up report, the numbers of victims and teachers soared more than fivefold as relatively minor cases were apparently discovered through a questionnaire given to parents and children.

The numbers are expected to be even higher in a final report to be compiled by the ministry in late June at the earliest. Seven local governments have yet to disclose the results of the follow-up survey filed with the ministry and many municipalities have not surveyed national and private schools.

The ministry carried out the survey following a high-profile case in which a 17-year-old student at a municipal high school in Osaka committed suicide in December after being beaten by his basketball coach.

Jiji Press added up figures released through Saturday from 44 prefectures and 16 major cities, as well as preliminary survey results from the seven local governments that have yet to disclose the outcome of their follow-up survey.

Junior high schools accounted for nearly half of the teachers and students involved in physical punishment. Elementary and high school teachers each accounted for 25 percent of all abusive teachers, while about 30 percent of the victims were high school students, more than elementary school pupils.

By prefecture, Nagasaki had the largest number of teachers who used physical punishment, at 452, followed by Oita with 383.

A senior official in the Oita prefectural board of education said the figures include cases in which parents said in the questionnaire they did not regard the act in question as corporal punishment.

“It was hard to judge, but we took it as a good opportunity for teachers to change themselves so that they do not easily punish children physically,” the official said.

  • Victor Fehr

    Seems to me the Japanese have more respect for authority than north american children. Why would this writer refer to the teachers as abusive?

    • Mark Garrett

      Respect should be earned, not demanded.

    • jamarmiller

      It depends on the place you are working, I work at 7 universities here in Japan, 6 of them have great respect for the teachers, one of them , has zero , which is why I won’t be working there next academic year

    • Sonny

      Because hitting children is wrong, Victor.

  • Guest

    Doesn’t surprise me. I’ve worked at five different Japanese
    schools(elementary and junior high) as an ALT for 2 years now, and I’ve
    observed behavior that is at best no better than and at times worse than
    that of American schoolchildren.

    The issue could be how lenient
    they are in certain areas. Japanese students cannot be removed from
    class regardless of how disruptive they are because it’s their right to
    an education. And yet at the same time I’ve seen ones that leave the
    classroom whenever English begins and roam the halls goofing off with no
    consequence. Keep in mind this is also in a fairly rural part of
    Japan(town with a population of about 15,000) and I often hear from the
    Japanese teachers that the prefecture’s inner-city schools are even
    worse.

    Given all the pressure and responsibility that comes with
    teaching, and the ridiculous leniency given to students, is it any
    wonder the teachers resort to physical violence to discipline the
    students? They have no legitimate way of punishing students for
    misbehaving and in some cases parents are ignorant enough to blame the
    teachers for their child’s terrible grades. I’ve yet to witness any
    corporal punishment here(they even passed out surveys regarding it to
    all the teachers recently), but I’ve seen firsthand teachers verbally
    abusing students to an extent that would get them fired in the US in a
    heartbeat. The result was a student who was maybe a bit too chatty in
    class then became completely unresponsive and suffered academically from
    then on.

    The entire system is horribly outdated and far too
    stressful for both students and teachers. I remember years ago scoffing
    at the ridiculous plot of the film Battle Royale, but now having
    witnessed the sheer animosity some teachers have for students and
    vice-versa, it suddenly doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

  • Guest

    Doesn’t surprise me. I’ve worked at five different Japanese schools(elementary and junior high) as an ALT for 2 years now, and I’ve
    observed behavior that is at best no better than and at times worse than that of American schoolchildren.

    The issue could be how lenient they are in certain areas. Japanese students cannot be removed from class regardless of how disruptive they are because it’s their right to an education. And yet at the same time I’ve seen ones that leave the classroom whenever English begins and roam the halls goofing off with no consequence. Keep in mind this is also in a fairly rural part of Japan(town with a population of about 15,000) and I often hear from the
    Japanese teachers that the prefecture’s inner-city schools are even worse.

    Given all the pressure and responsibility that comes with
    teaching, and the ridiculous leniency given to students, is it any
    wonder the teachers resort to physical violence to discipline the
    students? They have no legitimate way of punishing students for
    misbehaving and in some cases parents are ignorant enough to blame the
    teachers for their child’s terrible grades. I’ve yet to witness any
    corporal punishment here(they even passed out surveys regarding it to
    all the teachers recently), but I’ve seen firsthand teachers verbally
    abusing students to an extent that would get them fired in the US in a
    heartbeat. The result was a student who was maybe a bit too chatty in
    class then became completely unresponsive and suffered academically from
    then on.

    The entire system is horribly outdated and far too
    stressful for both students and teachers. I remember years ago scoffing
    at the ridiculous plot of the film Battle Royale, but now having
    witnessed the sheer animosity some teachers have for students and
    vice-versa, it suddenly doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

  • Guest

    Doesn’t surprise me. I’ve worked at five different Japanese
    schools(elementary and junior high) as an ALT for 2 years now, and I’ve
    observed behavior that is at best no better than and at times worse than
    that of American schoolchildren.

    The issue could be how lenient
    they are in certain areas. Japanese students cannot be removed from
    class regardless of how disruptive they are because it’s their right to
    an education. And yet at the same time I’ve seen ones that leave the
    classroom whenever English begins and roam the halls goofing off with no
    consequence. Keep in mind this is also in a fairly rural part of
    Japan(town with a population of about 15,000) and I often hear from the
    Japanese teachers that the prefecture’s inner-city schools are even
    worse.

    Given all the pressure and responsibility that comes with
    teaching, and the ridiculous leniency given to students, is it any
    wonder the teachers resort to physical violence to discipline the
    students? They have no legitimate way of punishing students for
    misbehaving and in some cases parents are ignorant enough to blame the
    teachers for their child’s terrible grades. I’ve yet to witness any
    corporal punishment here(they even passed out surveys regarding it to
    all the teachers recently), but I’ve seen firsthand teachers verbally
    abusing students to an extent that would get them fired in the US in a
    heartbeat. The result was a student who was maybe a bit too chatty in
    class then became completely unresponsive and suffered academically from
    then on.

    The entire system is horribly outdated and far too
    stressful for both students and teachers.

  • Max Erimo

    That’S right. RESPECT IS EARNED NOT GIVEN.

    My parents taught me that you do not respect people who beat or yell or abuse people because it is WRONG. I learnt to exoress myself in an articulate way if I had a problem. People who use force will always lose an argument as they don’t have the ability to convey their feelinga and thoughts through words, only violence.

  • blimp

    One thing that I have not fully understood is whether it is legal to hit a child or someone in a educational setting. Is there an exception to the law against assault or battery that says is is not illegal to hit a child or a child in an educational setting?

    I can’t understand why these teachers/coaches are not prosecuted by the prosecutors, or why the police isn’t investigating the matter.