4 Décembre 2016
December 2, 2016
Teacher ‘insulted’ Fukushima boy in latest school bullying case
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
NIIGATA--In the latest classroom bullying case involving children from Fukushima, a fourth-grader has not attended school for more than a week due to the alleged victimization by a teacher as well as his classmates.
The municipal board of education here is investigating the harassment of the boy who had the derogatory term “germ” added to his name by his classmates, which was then apparently emulated by his teacher.
The boy has been absent from his elementary school since his homeroom teacher, who is in his 40s, is alleged to have used the insult on the boy. The teacher has denied the accusation, but other pupils have corroborated the boy's account.
The school's principal has admitted that the teacher’s behavior was problematic.
The principal also said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun on Dec. 2 that the school will provide an opportunity for the teacher to apologize directly to the student and his parents.
The case is the latest to have surfaced of the potentially widespread bullying at their new schools of Fukushima students who fled the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Last month, media reports on a 13-year-old junior high school boy who moved to Yokohama recounted his experiences at his elementary school through his handwritten notes, sparking huge repercussions across the country.
In Tokyo, another Fukushima boy attending junior high school described his ordeal at his elementary school in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun later that month.
The two boys were called “germ” by their classmates, who also harassed them in other ways.
But in the Niigata case, the teacher called the boy by the insulting name in front of other students when he handed his pupil a correspondence notebook on Nov. 22, according to the boy’s mother.
The boy appeared to be devastated by the teacher’s behavior, which compounded the anxiety he already felt when his family was unable to contact his father to make sure he was safe after a powerful quake jolted Fukushima Prefecture earlier that day. His father works in the prefecture.
The following day was a national holiday and the school was closed. The boy has not attended the school since Nov. 24.
The boy’s family moved to Niigata over concerns about radiation in 2011 following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March that year.
According to his mother, some of his classmates began ostracizing him and calling him “germ” when he was in the third grade.
When he entered the fourth grade, some children threw away his stationery and broke his umbrella, and the harassment later escalated.
Although his mother was worried about him, he reassured her, saying, “I have friends who are trying to protect me. I will be OK.”
But he became visibly depressed when he learned of the report about the bullying the boy in Yokohama went through, according to his mother.
“My son must have thought that he is also the victim of severe harassment,” his mother said.
Urged on by his mother, he told his homeroom teacher on Nov. 17 that he, too, was being called “germ” by other children.
Five days later, however, he found that his teacher had joined in the name-calling.
His mother contacted the school to raise the issue. The teacher initially denied the allegation when school officials inquired.
“I have never said such a thing, given that the boy came to me for counseling,” the teacher was quoted by one of the officials as saying.
But the teacher was found to have actually used the insult when other teachers interviewed all the students in the boy’s class on Nov. 29. Some students admitted that they called the boys by an unkind name and that the teacher, too, had done the same.
According to the principal, the homeroom teacher said he wanted to apologize for being insensitive.
(This article was written by Atsushi Nagata and Kohei Kano.)
NIIGATA – An student who fled the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March 2011 has been absent from school for more than a week since a teacher added “germ” to his name when addressing him in late November, a local education board in Niigata Prefecture said Friday.
The fourth-grade elementary school student in the city of Niigata told the teacher, in his 40s, before the summer holidays that he was upset because other pupils were teasing him by adding “germ” to his name.
According to the board of education, the teacher then did the same thing while addressing the boy in class on Nov. 22, just five days after the boy spoke with the teacher again about issue.
Nov. 22 was also the same day a strong earthquake struck off Fukushima in the early morning, reminding many of the March 2011 mega-quake and tsunami that triggered the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
On Nov. 24, the boy’s parents complained to the school, and other teachers interviewed every student in the class five days later.
“Despite being approached by the pupil for help, the teacher said something extremely inconsiderate and inappropriate,” a board of education official said.
The case follows an earlier report of bullying in Yokohama, where a 13-year-old evacuee from Fukushima was verbally and physically attacked. The elementary school and local education board failed to offer meaningful support in that case, a third-party panel found.