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952 teachers reprimanded over corporal punishment in 2014 academic year: ministry

The 2014 academic year saw 952 teachers at public schools reprimanded for subjecting students to corporal punishment, according to numbers released by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

    The number was only 1/4 that of the 2013 academic year -- which had the most cases on record -- but still more than the around 400 teachers a year who were being reprimanded before academic 2012. After a student suicide linked to corporal punishment occurred at Sakuranomiya High School in Osaka Prefecture that year, the number of teachers being reprimanded shot up.

    "Instances of physical punishment are being properly reported more than before. The problem is that this kind of incident still occurs," the ministry stated.

    The schools included in the count are public elementary, junior high, high, special needs, and six-year secondary schools. At these schools, of the 9,677 teachers who were fired, received pay cuts, or were otherwise penalized in some form, 952 of them were cited for having used corporal punishment. Of those 952 -- who represent approximately 0.1 percent of the total teacher workforce at the schools -- 234 were given comparatively harsh penalties while 718 were given warnings. Among them, 525 were punished for hitting students with their hands and 119 were punished for kicking or stomping on students.

    In the 2012 and 2013 academic years, following the incident at Sakuranomiya High School, efforts increased around the nation to better catch acts of corporal punishment and more severely punish the teachers responsible. In academic 2012, 2,253 teachers were reprimanded over corporal punishment, and then 3,953 in the following year.

    For the 2014 academic year, adding in the four teachers reprimanded for using corporal punishment at national schools and the 170 at private schools, the total reaches 1,126, while 1,990 students were on the receiving end.

    Meanwhile, the number of teachers at public schools punished for inappropriate sexual conduct in the 2014 academic year was 205, matching the 2013 academic year for the most on record. Of that number, 201 were male and four were female. By age, 60 were in their 20s, 52 were in their 30s, 34 were in their 40s and 59 were in their 50s. Of the 205 teachers, 82 were reprimanded for targeting students at their schools, 33 for targeting minors not registered at their schools, 31 for acts against other teachers at their schools, and 46 for misconduct against unrelated adults.

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