Yet another Japanese school has caused a bullying scandal, this time by insisting a bullying victim who was tortured with dozens of cigarette burns leave the school as the ghastly state of his arm might bother classmates.
A 16-year-old student at a Sendai city high school was the victim of sustained bullying from 4 classmates starting in November of 2011, culminating in “a test of courage” involving repeatedly burning him with cigarettes.
He suffered over 20 cigarette burns in one attack, and as graphic photographs of his forearm show, this left him with significant scars. He was also repeatedly beaten and attacked, eventually becoming unable to attend school further.
According to the boy’s mother, in August the school finally tackled the incident, with the bullies apologising for some of their actions, but the school also told her they wanted the boy to “voluntarily” drop out of the school, “as the scars on his arm will disturb other students.”
In response, his family has raised the stakes – by reporting the incident to police as a case of assault. For once, police have accepted the complaint and are apparently investigating.
The school has refused to comment on their handling of the incident.
Amongst Japanese there appears to be increasing exasperation at just how rotten the nation’s teachers and schools have become, although if this can occur even after the issue was repeatedly addressed by the PM and cabinet and police and media descended upon a sacrificial school there does not appear to be much prospect of progress:
“So now they expel the victim…”
“Are there really schools which are this horrible?”
“This is grotesque.”
“These will never heal completely. Too harsh.”
“I simply cannot believe a school could be this nasty…”
“The school’s message is that weaklings who get bullied should just stay home!”
“Can’t they fix this with surgery? He won’t be able to get a job unless he can keep his arm covered all the time.”
“It’s as bad as the one in Shiga…”
“It’s even worse than Shiga!”
“I suppose this time the bullies have powerful parents as well. Expelling the victim is just…”
“The bullies should be expelled for smoking if nothing else.”
“I just feel sick when I hear about how these schools handle this stuff…”
“What does this school even mean by it ‘disturbing other students’?”
“This is well within the bounds of criminal assault. Those bullies ought to have been promptly arrested and that would have been the end of the matter!”
“What kind of school expels bullying victims?”