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Kobe teacher bullied by colleagues was forced to eat spicy curry, send obscene texts

The Kobe Municipal Government building (Mainichi/Toru Watanabe)

KOBE -- The education board in this western Japan city is considering punishment for four elementary school teachers after it was found that they bullied their younger colleague to the point where he stopped coming to work due to mental issues, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

According to the Kobe Municipal Board of Education's school personnel division, since last year three male teachers and one female teacher, all in their 30s and 40s, started verbally abusing their colleague in his 20s, calling him names including "trash." They also damaged his car, locked his smartphone without his consent and made him send obscene messages to other female teachers. The board also revealed that the abused teacher says he was "put in a hold and made to eat super spicy curry."

Furthermore, he was physically abused between April and June this year, such as having his foot stamped on and being smacked on the bottom with the core of a printer paper roll, causing welt marks on his body. In June, other colleagues at the school reported the incidents to the vice principal. The school carried out interviews with the teachers and reported to the board in July that there were "problems between teachers," and did not touch on specific bullying incidents.

The bullied teacher has been on a leave of absence since Sept. 2. The four are reportedly saying that they had "no malicious intent," but were ordered to stay at home from the start of this month.

(Japanese original by Shota Harumashi, Kobe Bureau)

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