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School conceals youth beating

Date Posted: 2007-02-23

A kindergarten student at a northern Okinawa elementary school was beaten and had a rope wrapped around his neck last Friday, but school officials withheld the incident from the Board of Education.

Officials now admit that five boys, ages nine and ten, abused the smaller boy, dragging him with a rope draped around his neck, and kicked and beat him. The incident came to light from an outside informer. The boy is physically in fair condition, with a black bruise around his neck from the rope.

“The boy needs care for mental damage quickly,” says a mental health specialist. “Otherwise, he will have bigger problems in the future.” The boy was playing with his friends on the school ground, officials say, when the older youngsters thought he was talking badly about them. They chased the young boys friends away, and began attacking him.

They stripped the boy naked, then tied the rope around his neck and dragged him along the ground. They then took the boy to the building roof, where there was a water tank. Officials say the assailants tried to put the boy in the tank, which contained two meters deep water, but the boy screamed “Stop. Don’t drop me in the tank.” They then let the boy run away.

At school the next day, the boy talked with teaches and described what happened. Teachers confronted the boys, who admitted the incident. The principal called a meeting with the boys’ parents, and made arrangements for a new support team. One member of that team is a policeman.

Asked why the incident wasn’t reported to the Board of Education, the school principal said “I was afraid to get into trouble for my school. I know I should have reported it to you immediately. I am sorry, and I am sorry for the small boy’s family.”

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