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Parents demand action after teacher strikes second student

Date Posted: 2005-11-04

Angry Motobu parents in northern Okinawa are pressuring school board officials to take strong action against a teacher who struck a student last week.

The incident began when the middle-aged teacher at the Motobu High School slapped a girl after scolding her for not being more attentive with a ball. He struck her in the face. While once is too much, twice is even worse.

The same teacher had slapped another girl in the face last August, causing bleeding. That incident sent the school principal to the family home, where he apologized. ‘”I’m sorry my teacher beat your daughter and injured her,” the principal said. “I’ve warned the teacher and put him on notice, and I’m asking you to forgive us.

A school policy now forbids anyone from striking or spanking a student. The ban applies to teachers, staff and even other students. The policy is different than 30-40 years ago, when teachers had much freedom to discipline students. They were often called ‘strict’ or ‘militarist’ but allowed to do mostly what they felt was necessary to control their classrooms. Often, students were frightened of students.

Today, that isn’t the case. Clever teachers are admonished against violence, and say they don’t need to use physical punishment. They say “smart talk” or a pleasant word works better in reasoning with students.

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