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Elementary school teacher in Japan incited pupils to violence, used abusive language

Officials at the Akita Municipal Board of Education are seen explaining the teacher's misconduct, in the city of Akita on March 22, 2021. (Mainichi/Marika Inomori)

AKITA -- A teacher in her 50s at a public elementary school in this north Japan city has been found to have committed inappropriate acts including inciting students to violence against a classmate and taking pupils out of class to abuse them verbally, the local board of education announced on March 22.

    Akita Municipal Board of Education head Koya Sato admitted that the teacher "provoked anxiety about school life among children." According to the board's school education division, on March 5 the teacher urged students in her class to hit a boy, saying, "Go ahead," and some pupils did actually hit the boy in the stomach. The division explained that it was because "the boy (who was hit) was causing trouble while playing tag during noon recess."

    The teacher acted inappropriately on other occasions, too. In around May 2020, she reportedly asked her class if there was anyone they disliked, and told two students who were named, "This is reality," and, "You have to try to be liked by everyone from now on."

    At another unconfirmed time, she dragged an excitable student out to the hallway and verbally abused them. The student was newly enrolled from another school, and the teacher allegedly said, "Your old classmates must be pleased you're gone."

    Issues surrounding the teacher's conduct emerged after six guardians heard about it from her students and submitted a report to the school on March 15. According to sources close to the matter, the report also says the teacher asked the class, "Is there anyone you want to punch?"

    The teacher remained in charge of the class until March 22, the last day of school for the term. She reportedly admitted the facts to an investigation by the school, and said, "I'm very sorry." An official at the education board said, "We couldn't get a sense of the situation despite conducting, approximately every other month, a student survey about bullying and life."

    On the night of March 19, the school held a guardians' meeting on the issue. One person at the meeting said, "I heard about verbal abuse toward children that was an everyday occurrence. I didn't think a teacher would do things like that."

    (Japanese original by Marika Inomori and Hiroshi Takano, Akita Bureau)

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