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Teacher tells bullied girl perpetrators could be found with 'supernatural' powers

YAMAGUCHI -- A girl who was bullied at an elementary school here from January last year, with notes including at least one that said "die" placed in her desk and locker, was told by her teacher that the perpetrators could be found if only supernatural powers were an option, it has been learned.

    A lawyer for the girl's parents said that their daughter, a fourth-grader, began missing school after the bullying started, but had resumed attending in July last year. However, in an interview with her teacher on Nov. 16, the teacher, referring to those responsible for the bullying, said, "If only I had supernatural powers I could find them." From the following day the girl became unable to go to school.

    The school apologized to the parents over the remark. Superintendent of the Yamaguchi Municipal Board of Education, Seiji Iwaki, commented, "At a time when she (the fourth-grader) was starting to be able to deal with life at school, this is regrettable, and I feel responsible."

    In December last year, the girl's parents approached the Yamaguchi Bar Association, seeking human rights redress over the school's response. The association is considering conducting an investigation.

    According to the Yamaguchi Municipal Board of Education, the girl had notes including at least one saying "die" placed in her desk and locker on nine occasions between January and April last year, and her school bag was damaged with an X mark. The school informed the board about the bullying, and questioned other students, but was unable to identify who was responsible for the notes.

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