徳島 英会話教室 

Immediate Action Needed to Combat School Bullying

Recently school bullying has become a hot-button issue in Japan in desperate need of immediate action to stop an increasing amount of suicides by hopeless students. As a foreign teacher living in Japan, I believe I have a unique perspective on this situation, which inspired me to write the following condensed opinion – published in Japan’s national English newspaper, The Daily Yomiuri.

Immediate Action Needed to Combat School Bullying

With all due respect to writer Whahei Tatematus, who’s statements were recently published in the Daily Yomiuri entitled, (“Society must face up to bullying problem,” Page 3, Nov. 14), it’s my opinion we should not broaden the problem to society at a time where students are feeling most desperate and in need of our help now. As a foreign teacher living and teaching in Japan, I believe the lack of strong guidelines for disciplining students is the root cause for the increase in bullying in schools, which is resulting in suicides. Today’s public school students in Japan are free to behave in any inappropriate way they choose to without fear of serious repercussion from teachers. I am under the impression teachers are handcuffed by the power of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), which I believe needs to allow teachers to teach and discipline appropriately for the sake of their own children. In addition, the Education, Science and Technology Ministry needs to revisit any existing disciplinary guidelines and provide teachers the authority needed to effectively teach and protect students. If students are perceived to have more power than teachers, how do you think the student being bullied feels? Let me answer that, hopeless. Students must be held accountable for their inappropriate actions in school. I believe by implementing something as simple as detention would immediately reverse the current trend. Detentions are a common form of school discipline in the United States. When students break school rules they are detained after school for one hour regardless of prior commitments. By taking away students’ own time spent in after school activities, such as sports clubs or simply going home, then maybe students will be more tentative when teachers say that bullying will not be tolerated.

 

2 responses

  1. mAMa Max

    I have heard much about this from gaijinsmash.net, and the situation sounds bad. Really bad until the bullied students commit suicide. Teachers having no power over the sudents…. No wonder bullying is prevalent. And if I\’m not wrong, when you go over your call of duty just to disicpline one bad student, the PTA goes after your ass no? And what\’s worse the parents of these bullies do not admit it is their fault for not raising them right, rather they blame it on the teachers and students. Hence, the teachers can\’t do anything about the bullying problem, without running into trouble. In other words, the students have the power.I mean, students are suppose to fear and respect teachers, not the other way round. At least that is what I feel.I can think of only a few solutions to remedy the bullying problem, some of them are from my experience as a Singaporean student. One is to give teachers more authority over the students, allow them to punish bullies as they see fit. Perhaps introduce coporal punishment if needed, but only reserve this for desperate cases. And also, allow the teachers to scream their heads off at the students if needed. Some teachers throw books at us in class when we misbehave, hurts like hell. Sorry to disagree with you on this part, but detention seems to be too lenient a punishment. In my school, as soon as fighting starts, the boys are detained, made to write a report, and usually the punishment dished out are several strokes of the cane. Yes, caning, with water-soaked rattan canes. After that they receive a blotch on their permenant records. Although it may sound barbaric and violent, it does get the job done. That\’s why there\’s not much bullying in my school. This also applies to bullying, defiance to teachers, smoking, and other serious offences. It is a pragmatic approach, hopefully it will quell the bullying problem, and the bullied students would feel justice has been served. And lastly, though is is not possible, is to strip more power and authority from the PTA. It should be the education ministry and the principal that should have the utmost authority over the school, not the PTA. Who governs the school mainly? The principal, not the parents. In fact, the authority that the PTA wields should be reduced significantly, such that the most they can do is to provide suggestions on how to improve the school for students. Sorry if my suggestions may not be to your liking. That is how St Gabriel\’s works. And that\’s why I love that school. I hope that my comments have been helpful.If you want to be defiant, its your problem, cause basically, the principal doesn\’t care about your parents\’ complaints. As long as you are in the wrong, and you refuse to acknowledge it and amend your ways, you are going to suffer. Its a school that protects its students, and bullies are screwing the wrong school. If all else fails, call Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO) then. Cheers!

    January 1, 2007 at 8:42 am

  2. Tashi

    Thanks for your post!  You make some interesting points that should be considered with all other options.  My original write-up for The Daily Yomiuri offered much more specifics as far as implementing detentions, however, the opinion needed to be limited.  Personally, I don\’t think detention is the solution, but rather just a small step in the right direction.  In the United States, detentions do exist, but so does bullying.  I believe bullying is part of human nature, so it can never be totally eliminated.  The strong will always try to exploit the weak.  American schools need to do more, however, Japanese schools need to start doing something.  I think we agree that the root cause is the lack of discipline in schools, which was my main point.  Japan is a very conservative country and change comes slow, serious suggestions to the problem need to be mindful of this, because change does not come easy here.

    January 1, 2007 at 7:50 pm

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