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Teacher fired for changing 'Yes' to 'No' in Japan school students' bullying survey

Representatives for the Sendai Municipal Board of Education bow in apology for a case in which an instructor at a Sendai municipal elementary school falsified the results of a bullying survey, at Sendai City Hall on Dec. 7, 2020. (Mainichi/Issei Takizawa)(Mainichi/Issei Takizawa)

SENDAI -- An elementary school instructor here was terminated for altering the answers to a survey on bullying that students filled out to make it seem like there was less bullying than there actually was involving students in his homeroom.

    The 48-year-old male teacher at Sendai Municipal Nanakita Elementary School changed the responses to a questionnaire written by 22 of 33 students in his homeroom, and has reportedly said that he thought his reputation would improve if there was less bullying in his class.

    The survey was conducted by the Sendai Municipal Government in November of municipal elementary schools to check on the state of bullying. According to the Sendai Municipal Board of Education, two students in the instructor's class responded that they had been bullied, but the instructor altered their responses to say that they hadn't been bullied. Furthermore, these two students had said in the questionnaire that they told their homeroom teacher that they had been bullied, which the teacher erased. The instructor also changed the answer to the question, "When there is bullying in school, do you think the school takes appropriate action against it?" from "not really," to "yes," and made other alterations.

    The falsifications came to light when it was pointed out that the contents of the survey were different from a copy kept by at least one parent or guardian. The teacher was a temporary instructor at the school from September, and has admitted that he made similar changes to bullying surveys at a different elementary school where he was teaching in the 2016, 2018 and 2019 academic years. At a minimum, he is said to have made changes to 66 students' survey responses.

    The Sendai Municipal Board of Education is considering filing a criminal complaint against the instructor for the possible charge of counterfeiting private signed documents and putting them to use.

    (Japanese original by Issei Takizawa, Sendai Bureau)

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