Education ministry to make teacher misconduct public record

When teachers are removed from their posts due to misconduct, not only their names but also the reasons for their termination will be made public in an official government gazette starting April 1, in a move by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry that aims to bolster protections for children by allowing school boards and other organizations to check whether individuals applying for teaching jobs have a past record of “indecent acts.”

Under the Education Personnel Certification Law, when a teacher’s license is revoked due to disciplinary dismissal or other reason, their name and license type are made public in a government kampo gazette. However, offenders are still able to obtain a new license after a three-year disciplinary period and apply for another teaching job.

In light of the possibility for license renewal, the ministry provides school boards and private school operators with tools to search a database of disciplinary records based on information published in government gazettes. Although schools can inquire with boards of education regarding the details contained in applicants’ records, school boards have balked on disclosing the information in some instances, citing personal privacy protections.

As a result, schools have not always been able to determine the reason behind a disciplinary dismissal on an applicant’s record beyond asking the job-seekers themselves, who have little incentive to tell the truth.

To close this loophole, the ministry has revised the enforcement regulations for the law to require that the reason for a teacher’s dismissal also be entered into the public record, as classified into one of five categories: “indecent acts and sexual harassment of a minor below the age of 18 or students in a school where they work,” “other indecent acts and sexual harassment,” “violation of traffic regulations/causing a traffic accident,” “criminal acts related to their post,” and “other.”

The ministry will also request that school boards publish any known aliases of teachers in case they have changed their names.

The new regulations will be applied to teachers who have received a disciplinary dismissal or been terminated after April 1.