2 boys sent to prosecutors over Shiga student's suicide
Shiga prefectural police on Thursday sent to prosecutors two 15-year-old boys accused of bullying a 13-year-old boy who killed himself in October 2011. A third boy, who was 13 at the time, was sent to a child welfare center. The other two were 14 at the time of the incident.
It is rare for police to send minors to prosecutors instead of a family court. But this case gained national media attention during the summer and put the spotlight on bullying in schools.
Since August, police have questioned more than 300 boys, their classmates, parents and teachers at the school in Otsu. Two of the three boys denied bullying the victim and said they were only fooling around, Fuji TV reported.
Police have also been trying to find out the extent of the bullying and to clarify what the school did in response to two questionnaires it gave to students in October and November of 2011 after the boy committed suicide.
At first, the school maintained that it did not think bullying was the cause of the death. However, in July, school officials and the Otsu Board of Education reversed their stance and conceded that bullying most likely drove the boy to leap to his death from a building on Oct 11, 2011.
In the questionnaires, the victim’s classmates said that the three bullies routinely forced him to “practice” killing himself. According to the answers, they punched the boy in the toilet, forced him to eat dead bees, pulled down his pants and taped his mouth.
The police refused to do anything last year after the father complained. In February, the boy’s father filed a criminal complaint with the police, charging the boys with assault, extortion and theft. He has also filed a damages suit against the city.
The suicide sparked a series of bomb threats against the school and the local government over claims of negligence in the case.
The boy’s father told a news conference on Thursday that he is glad action has finally been taken against the bullies because his son can no longer speak for himself.