Number of school bullying cases rises 3.5 percent in fiscal 2010

Posted on August 5, 2011. Filed under: Bullying | Tags: , |

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The number of bullying cases recognized by public and private primary, junior high and high schools across Japan in the 2010 school year ended in March this year rose 3.5 percent from a year earlier to 75,295 cases, an education ministry survey showed Thursday.

That was the first increase in five years as the number of bullying cases had been falling since fiscal 2006 when the ministry began collecting such data.

The total does not include data from the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima as the March 11 earthquake made it impossible to incorporate data from the prefectures, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry said.

The average rate of bullying cases being “resolved” by school authorities following detection was 79.1 percent, the ministry said.

Last November the ministry sent an advisory to education boards at Japan’s 47 prefectures, asking them to make sure that all schools implement a questionnaire-based survey to detect bullying after a 12-year-old schoolgirl who was bullied by schoolmates at her school in Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture committed suicide.

Consequently the rate of schools conducting such polls shot up to 90.4 percent, up 24.5 percentage points from a year earlier and, as a result, the ministry now feels it’s possible to shed light on the real scale of the problem, a ministry official said.

By level, the number of bullying cases at primary schools totaled 35,988, at junior high schools 32,348, and at high schools 6,617, according to the survey.

Regarding types of bullying, ridiculing and slandering topped the list at 66.7 percent, with shunning next at 20.7 percent. Internet-related bullying through personal computers or e-mail via mobile phones accounted for 3.9 percent.

The number of students who committed suicide during fiscal 2010 came to 147, down 18 from the previous year. Of them, four junior high school students were found to have been bullied.

In a related development, the ministry said it sent an advisory to education boards in all 47 prefectures, asking them to make sure that schools follow up with face-to-face meetings with students once a survey detects they are being bullied.

The advisory said there are differences in degree among schools as to the seriousness of their efforts to shed light on the real situation relating to bullying, adding the ministry “is worried that there may be cases where schools have not been able to recognize cases of bullying.”

The number of violent acts in or out of school premises stood at 58,899 cases, or 4.4 cases per every 1,000 students, up 0.1 cases from a year earlier.

The number of elementary and junior high school students who failed to attend classes for 30 days or more in fiscal 2010 totaled 114,971, down from 122,432 a year earlier.

(Mainichi Japan) August 5, 2011

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