The recent rash of bullying cases and deaths resulting from bullying has alarmed legislators enough that the Liberal Democratic Party last Saturday compiled a draft bill of measures to prevent students from being bullied by classmates and teachers as well.
The bill defines bullying as “physical and psychological attacks on students that inflict physical and mental pain”. Corporal punishment by a teacher will be considered as bullying and the school has a responsibility to report serious cases to their respective local governments. When bullying results in death, serious injury or a long absence, schools are obliged to inform local authorities and municipal mayors. The authorities will then need to form an internal investigative body to also prevent cover ups. The schools also need to report to the police if the bullying is endangering a student’s life and they must immediately suspend the culprits. Cruel online posts that cause emotional distress to students are also considered a form of bullying in the proposed bill. The draft bill also urges state and local governments to strengthen counseling services. The central government’s responsibility is to draft a basic policy to prevent bullying.
Numerous cases of bullying has caught the attention of the nation of late. Two of the most high-profile cases have been a 13 year old junior high school student who killed himself in October 2011 after suffering continuous bullying from classmates and a 17 year old basketball player who committed suicide after being physically abused by his coach. The LDP is asking the opposition to support and pass the bill in the Diet session starting Monday.