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Kobe teacher accused of bullying colleague broke student's arm 3 years ago: educators

Kobe Municipal Higashisuma Elementary School principal Miki Nio, right, and other officials bow in apology over bullying incidents at the school during a news conference at the Kobe Municipal Government building in the city's Chuo Ward, on Oct. 9, 2019. (Mainichi/Koji Minemoto)

KOBE -- One of the four elementary school teachers in this western city accused of bullying their colleague is reported to have broken a student's arm three years ago, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

According to the Kobe Municipal Board of Education, a male teacher in his 30s at the city's Higashisuma Elementary School -- one of four teachers at the school accused of verbally and physically abusing a younger colleague -- broke a sixth grade student's right arm during P.E. in May 2016.

The teacher grabbed the student by the arm when he tried to enter a volleyball court and pushed him out of the court, telling him, "You don't have to play." The child then fell, breaking his right arm. The school apologized to his parents for the incident and the education board warned the teacher, but did not report it to the police.

It has been reported that parents of students at the school are filing complaints about the four teachers. Of them, a woman in her 40s, reportedly told at least one student, "I hate you." She is also accused of suddenly pulling a chair from under a student, causing them to fall and hit their head. The education board is investigating these reports.

Kobe Mayor Kizo Hisamoto lamented how the school and education board had handled the situation during a news conference on Oct. 10, saying, "I'm infuriated. The education board's governance is lacking."

He announced a plan to launch an investigative team within the mayoral division comprising third-party experts as soon as next week. The selection of its members will be carried out by the city's administrative and fiscal division instead of the education board. The team is expected to release its findings by the end of the year.

(Japanese original by Kimi Sorihashi, Kobe Bureau)

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