Netizens have risen up in anger at the news that the suicide of an Iwate middle school student could have been prevented had his teacher paid more attention to his cry for help.
The boy had written in the daily diary that all students exchanged with their homeroom teacher that he was being bullied and was considering suicide; however, the teacher largely ignored the content of his diary and did not report it to her superiors.
The newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, which has been given access to the boy’s diary by his parents, published the following article condemning the teacher’s inability to recognize that the thirteen year old needed her help.
From Mainichi Shimbun:
[Iwate Middle School Suicide] Principal Says “I Didn’t Know He Was Being Bullied”
In the issue over a male middle school student (13) from Yahabamachi, Iwate Prefecture, who is assumed to have committed suicide after suffering bullying, the possibility was raised that the school’s response to his situation had been insufficient. In notes exchanged with his homeroom teacher, the boy had written “The thing is, I’ve already decided where I’m going to die”, his homeroom teacher had simply mentioned the fact that from the next day the boy would be on at camp, writing “Enjoy camp tomorrow!”. This is thought to be something that was written around June 30, and this SOS was the last message the student wrote.
◇ Father: “Why Didn’t They Contact Us?”
In the school, the students write a “Diary Of My Life” that they exchange with their homeroom teacher almost every day, and the Mainichi Shimbun has been given all of these notes by the boy’s father. In the notes, the student complained of bullying several times to the homeroom teacher.
Many of the notes are not dated, but at some point after May this year, the student had written, “I get punched, I get kicked, I get strangled” and the homeroom teacher had replied, “Gee, that’s tough. When was this?? Did you resolve it?”. Immediately afterward, the student had written “No, I haven’t resolved it”, but the teacher’s column is left empty, and a double circle has been drawn on the student’s diary.
After this, even when the student had written “I’m so sick of this…I don’t know what will become of me”, the homeroom teacher did not make any comments. On another day, when the student wrote in praise of suicide that “This is just between us [abridged] is it alright for me to die? (Maybe it will happen these days)”, the teacher had responded by writing things like “What’s wrong? Are you worried about your test? Classes? Seeing your smiling face is the source of my happiness”.
Following an emergency meeting with guardians held on July 7, the school’s principal stated in response to questions on the notes exchanged with the teacher that “I didn’t hear anything about this from the homeroom teacher. Of course we can’t deny that he might have been bullied, but if so then it should have been reported to me”. Since the boy committed suicide that homeroom teacher is said to have been on sick leave.
Until the boy committed suicide, even his own father did not know the content of the notes, and stated his discontent with how the school had handled things. “If he’s gone so far as to write this stuff, then why weren’t we contacted?”.
According to those who attended the meeting for guardians on the evening of July 7, there had been no clear explanation from the school as to whether or not there had been bullying, and apparently there has also been no apology over the boy’s death.
According to the town’s education committee, on July 7 they held a survey asking every student in the school (around 450 students) whether they had witnessed any bullying.
[Futamura Yujiro and Asano Takayoshi]
Comments from 2ch.net:
Yeah, the homeroom teacher is definitely a woman.
Reveal the homeroom teacher’s identity!
Bet she just ran away because she didn’t want to deal with it?
This lady must be pretty much a psycho to have just gone and drawn two circles on a note like that, right?
キン肉バスター(兵庫県)＠＼(^o^)／:[in response to above]
Yeah, she just drew two circles over the part where he wrote “[The bullying] hasn’t been resolved”. What’s the point of that?
Bullying should all be reported to the police. Because schools just won’t make a move.
It’s the homeroom teacher’s fault that this kid committed suicide. She needs to take responsibility for this.
The homeroom teacher should have understood the severity of the situation, so I don’t get why she just let it pass like that.
Did she want to ignore reality? Was she too busy to listen to him?
The other students were probably just writing their diaries without any issues in them, so this diary would definitely have stood out.
He should have told his family.
If I was in his parents’ place, I’d have made him take a Dictaphone to school, gathered evidence, or even made him change schools.
There are loads of teachers like her.
Even if this wasn’t bullying, they should still have told his parents if he was writing stuff like that.
Comments from Twitter:
久我寛生 / Hiroki Kuga:
A child who was able to say “Help me!” was neglected and committed suicide. The homeroom teacher didn’t take any notice of him. So there was nowhere this kid could ask for help, was there? I can’t help but feel pity that his life ended while he was so young, it should never have happened.
This is a pity, but that’s just what teachers are like, I think.
Even though the student complained to her she didn’t deal with it, and apparently not even the principal knew. This kind of thing even happens in Kanegesaku middle school. Seems like, to quote the principal, “both sides were pushing the wrong buttons”.
This is awful. She’s completely incompetent as a homeroom teacher.
Teachers, who are you working for?
She didn’t know? That excuse ain’t gonna pass!
Please give your lives to protect your students.
For the teacher to have ignored the SOS and given an answer that just brushed him aside even though the student was crying out for help, that must have really hurt the student. It’s so frightening that a woman like that is a teacher.
This boy probably could have been saved if the school and the teacher had dealt with things properly. Bullying is a crime.
Is it just me? If I were his parent, I wouldn’t have let him go to school. If it was so bad that he was going to kill himself, I’d want him to escape from that environment.
This kind of story is just so frustrating.
Those student diaries are pointless. But I guess that now they are proof.