School violence set record last year

Kyodo News

A record 59,618 acts of violent behavior by children were logged by elementary, junior high and high schools nationwide in fiscal 2008, marking the third consecutive annual rise, the education ministry said Monday.

Reports of violent acts in junior high schools were up by some 6,000 from a year earlier, accounting for 72 percent of overall violence among children, the education ministry said.

The number of cases of bullying detected by schools, meanwhile, stood at 84,648, down 16,449, or 16 percent, from the year before, according to the ministry. The number of schoolchildren killing themselves came to 136, of whom three at junior high and high schools were believed to have been related to bullying.

The ministry attributed the increase in violence to a decline in common manners and lack of communications skills among children. It instructed boards of education nationwide to detect problematic behavior at an early stage and take a firm stance in cooperating with the police.