Tokyo Gakugei University Elementary School Failed to Address Bullying

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Gakugei University

Tokyo Gakugei University Oizumi Elementary School did not take any systematic action to deal with the bullying of a fifth grader last year, despite being aware of the boy’s plight, it has been learned.

The boy stopped attending the school in Nerima Ward, Tokyo, in April, and transferred to another school in May.

The school’s founder, Tokyo Gakugei University, will establish a third-party committee to investigate the circumstances.

According to the university, after the boy transferred to the elementary school in April 2022, he was harassed by one of his classmates, who told him he was “dirty” and moved his desk away. Having witnessed such bullying in June that year, the homeroom teacher had the classmate apologize to the boy and believed the matter was solved.

However, the teacher later saw the boy being bullied several times. The school did not make an organizational response to the problem, regarding it as “trouble between children.”

Although the boy repeatedly complained of being bullied in questionnaires submitted to students, the homeroom teacher did not report the bullying to the vice principal, who is in a supervisory position, until December last year. The teacher also said in a report in February that the situation was “improving.”

Principal Shinkichi Sugimori learned about the bullying in April when the boy stopped attending the school.

On May 31, the university reported the case to the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry as a “serious situation” based on the Law for the Promotion of Measures to Prevent Bullying. A third-party committee will be established to study the situation.