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Japan elementary school teacher given warning for kicking student's chair, causing whiplash

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SHIZUOKA -- An elementary school teacher in central Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture has been reprimanded for kicking the backrest of a chair a student was sitting on, causing the student to suffer whiplash.

    The disciplinary action, dated May 26, was handed down on a 27-year-old teacher at a municipal elementary school in the western part of the prefecture, the Shizuoka Prefectural Board of Education announced.

    According to the education board, the teacher kicked the backrest of a chair a student was sitting on while he was handling trouble between his students in a classroom at Iwata Municipal Fukuda Elementary School -- where he was working at the time -- during recess on Dec. 16, 2021. The student toppled forward with the chair, and suffered whiplash.

    The incident came to light after the student's mother heard about it the same day and contacted the school. Papers on the teacher were sent to the Hamamatsu branch of the Shizuoka District Public Prosecutors Office on suspicion of inflicting bodily harm. In March this year, prosecutors decided not to indict him.

    The teacher was quoted as telling the education board, "I'm sorry for injuring a student and making a guardian feel anxious."

    Education board chief Shigehiro Ikegami commented, "We sincerely apologize, as the incident erodes the trust of prefectural residents, and our social responsibility is large."

    (Japanese original by Rinnosuke Fukano, Shizuoka Bureau)

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