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32 local gov'ts have guidelines against school club corporal punishment: survey

A total of 32 of 67 local governments -- 47 prefectural governments and 20 major cities -- have compiled guidelines on how to prevent teachers from using corporal punishment in school club sessions as of December 2017, a Mainichi Shimbun survey has shown.

It is not mandatory to draw up guidelines on dealing with corporal punishment in school club sessions. However, with such cases showing no signs of letting up, experts are urging local authorities to work out measures that are appropriate for the situation in each particular area.

The Mainichi Shimbun conducted the survey recently on corporal punishment during club activities at mainly high schools, as this month marks five years since a male student at Sakuranomiya High School in Osaka took his own life after suffering corporal punishment inflicted by a basketball club coach in December 2012.

In the wake of the Sakuranomiya High School incident, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology created a set of guidelines on school sports club coaching, firmly stating that any attempt to justify corporal punishment must not be accepted. The ministry urges local authorities to prevent such acts from taking place in junior high and high schools, while referring to the government guidelines.

A total of 32 local bodies -- 27 prefectural governments and five major cities -- have created their own set of guidelines. Of them, Kanagawa Prefecture's guidelines have been based on specific analysis on the causes of corporal punishment from the viewpoints of both students and coaches, as well as opinions of experts on the correct ways to coach.

Nagasaki Prefecture has written about bringing in mental training in order to control teachers' emotions in its set of guidelines. Looking ahead, five other prefectures and four major cities are also thinking about drawing up their own versions. Meanwhile, 15 prefectures and 11 major cities make use of the national government guidelines instead of their own.

The guidelines created by the central government also state that making comments which disrespect students' personalities is "unacceptable coaching." Public school teachers in 37 prefectures and 19 major cities are subject to disciplinary measures if they verbally abuse students while coaching in school club activities.

In addition, Chiba, Shiga and Hyogo prefectures and the cities of Osaka and Kobe have their own independent rules stating that coaches who use corporal punishment should not be allowed to return to club activities over a certain period.

The survey also found that a total of 35 high school teachers were disciplined for carrying out corporal punishment during club sessions between January and November 2017. Four of these 35 teachers were repeat offenders, who had been dealt with in the past for using corporal punishment.

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