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Yokohama teacher suspended for slapping handball club members, telling them to 'die'

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YOKOHAMA -- A high school teacher here has been suspended from work for six months for repeatedly physically and verbally abusing members of the school's handball club, including slapping them and telling them to "die."

    The Kanagawa Prefectural Board of Education took disciplinary measures against the 45-year-old teacher at the prefectural Ichigao High School in Yokohama's Aoba Ward on Jan. 26. It also issued a warning to the school's principal in light of his supervisory responsibility.

    According to the education board's administration division, the teacher, who supervised the handball club, abused students between April 2021 and September 2022, throwing a ball at a student's head and slapping them, among other actions. He also said, "I want to kill you," and called a student "idiot." At least six male and female first and second year students were subjected to the abuse.

    An anonymous phone call to the school in September 2021 revealed the supervisor's inappropriate remarks. However, the principal only gave the teacher guidance, and did not report the case to the prefectural education board. In September 2022, all six second-year male club members withdrew from the team, saying that they could not keep up with such instruction. After the principal and others confirmed the facts with the vice-supervisor, the whole story came to light.

    The teacher was dismissed from his position as the supervisor to the handball club in October. He reportedly explained to the education board, "I became frustrated and emotional because of the repeated mistakes (of the club members)."

    (Japanese original by Masakatsu Oka, Yokohama Bureau)

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