Yet another death in Japan tied to bullying: Police have stated today that a 12 year old junior high school student committed suicide on Wednesday in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan’s northern island. The young boy was found dead on the ground after jumping from the roof of his apartment building, a sad repeat of the tragic death of a 13 year old in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, last October. The boy was found at around 7:30 AM that morning, and while he was rushed to the hospital, the doctors immediately declared his death.
In another echo of the suicide in Otsu, the 12 year old in Sapporo killed himself because of bullying. Police say they found a suicide not in the boy’s room that stated he was being bullied, and had chosen to commit suicide. Details about his school life and the bullying haven’t been revealed yet, but the school released a statement that he was an active member of clubs and was never absent from his classes. In response to the news, Sapporo’s Board of Education has announced a meeting to discuss ways of addressing bullying in the future.
In the future? How about addressing in now? In the sad case in Otsu, the bullying victim’s classmates revealed that he was regularly beaten and abused by three other boys, and teachers were repeatedly seen as doing nothing more than dismissing the behavior as “playing.” Ongoing lawsuits from the boy’s parent revealed that school officials tried to cover up the fact that teachers were aware of what was going on, and even tried to deny that bullying was what drove the 13 year old to suicide.
That case has sparked the uncovering of numerous bullying problems in schools throughout the country, and the government’s Ministry of Education has called for an official probe into the matter. Instead of planning meetings to discuss plans for the future, teachers need to step up and start paying attention to what is going on, and parents need to start paying attention to their kids’ lives and encourage them to speak up when there are serious problems. A 12 year old thinking that suicide is the only way out is the sign of a society failing its children.