Police have raided the school and city hall at the heart of the recent Shiga schoolboy suicide scandal, even as ever more disturbing details of the abuse he suffered and the lengths the school went to cover it all up continue to emerge.
The suicide of a 13-year-old boy after a vicious campaign of bullying which his teachers apparently tolerated if not encouraged is fast becoming a national scandal, having been raised in the Diet and reported in international media.
Attention has centred on the efforts of the school to cover up the scope of the abuse the boy suffered and just how much it knew – now the local educational board has revealed the school took not one but two surveys of pupils asking for details about the abuse he suffered.
The second questionnaire received 188 responses, many with similar content to the first – although even more disturbing details emerged, such as the boy “being made to strangle himself in a practice suicide” and having to participate in his own “mock funeral.”
The school says it only managed to investigate and confirm one of the reports, which it found to be “bullying of a pupil from another school.”
At the time it did not tell the parents of the dead boy about the new information, saying it had “found no new information,” and did not even tell them that it had conducted a second survey.
The school has now apologised for not telling the parents, saying it “didn’t notice” the new reports and that its investigation was “inadequate.”
The school further attempted to cover up its findings by forcing the boy’s father to sign a legal contract promising not to reveal the results of the first questionnaire to outsiders, which he says further delayed the truth becoming known.
Meanwhile the city’s mayor has aligned herself with the prevailing winds and admitted the bullying and the boys suicide were connected, and offered to pursue a settlement with the family, even as the school continues to issue statements refusing to accept any connection exists, a situation which has further infuriated the bereaved family.
She now claims part of the reason for her break with the school is that they refused to share the complete results of the second questionnaire even with her.
Those unfortunates still attending the school have also seemingly been subject to the wrath of Internet vigilantes – the school was closed for a day following an anonymous bomb threat, apparently spurious.
The culmination of all this seems to be belated action by the police, almost a year after the boy’s death and after refusing his father’s attempts to file charges no less than 3 times.
Police have just announced a team of 20 investigators have issued search warrants and started searching the school and the local city hall for incriminating evidence, and begun questioning the principal and members of the school board.