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Ex-high schooler told to drop out for dating classmate wins damages in Tokyo lawsuit

The Tokyo District Court is seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward in this file photo. (Mainichi/Kenji Yoneda)

TOKYO -- A court ruled on Nov. 30 that a private high school here broke the law when it advised a female student to drop out for breaking a school rule against dating, and ordered the school operator to pay the woman about 970,000 yen (approx. $7,000) in compensation.

    According to the lawsuit filed at the Tokyo District Court by the former student, Horikoshi Gakuen high school has a rule stating, "Special relationships between boys and girls are prohibited as they are inconsistent with the true purpose of being a student."

    The complaint stated that in November 2019, the plaintiff, then in her third year at the school, was confronted by her homeroom teacher and asked if she was dating a classmate. She said that she was, and was later advised by the principal to quit the school, which she did. She alleged that the homeroom teacher additionally subjected her to highly personal questions, including whether she was having sex.

    The former student's suit claimed that "the school limited students' basic human rights" and that its rules were "extremely irrational in light of social norms, and were invalid." It additionally stated, "Because of the excessive nature of the rules, leaving the school and entering another high school became unavoidable." The former student had demanded 7 million yen (around $50,500) in compensation.

    The school operator responded, "Private schools have independent traditions and pedagogical directions, and our rules are consistent with social norms. Advising the former student to withdraw, based on the level of her infraction and her living conditions at the time, was entirely within the proper discretionary power of the principal."

    (Japanese original by Kazuhiro Toyama, Tokyo City News Department)

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