Eleven male students of a municipal junior high school in Handa City, Aichi, formed a “miscarriage club,” to harass their 7th grade homeroom teacher by tampering with her school lunch, Shukan Post reports. The incident has been reported overseas as well.
According to the vice principal of the school, the harassment began after the teacher, in her 30s, changed the students’ seating at the end of the second semester. Although intended to assist students with developmental disabilities, some students considered the seating change a sign of favoritism. Eleven classmates decided to “retaliate” by creating a club they named “Make Teacher ‘A’ Have a Miscarriage.”
These students began misbehaving in class from the third semester, which developed into other acts of harassment such as pasting glue mixed with powdered chalk (to make it look like semen) on the teacher’s car and loosening the screws on her chair, which could have injured the pregnant teacher. Then on Feb 4, the “Club” members put powdered alum in the teacher’s lunch.
“There was a science class experiment using salt and alum, and some students took a small portion of each and mixed them in the teacher’s meat sauce while preparing to pass around the [school-provided] lunch trays to the class. The teacher ate the lunch without any knowledge of the tampering,” said the vice principal.
The rumor about this incident spread among the student body, and finally came to the attention of the school administrators on Feb 25. While alum is used as a food additive and harmless to the body, the act of the tampering itself must have been a considerable shock to the pregnant teacher who would be concerned about anything that may harm the fetus.
Five students were directly involved in this lunch incident. None of the 11 “Club” members, however, had a reputation for bad behavior or had academic problems. Why, then, would such youngsters create a club to make their teacher suffer a miscarriage? The school vice principal commented, “The naming of the club is inexcusable, but the students had no murderous intentions. We think the students were just fooling around.”
The school insists the entire incident was a prank and has not taken stringent action to reprimand the 11 students. Instead, the school held a parent-teacher conference with each student for three days to instruct the teenagers on respect for life and to learn to judge between right and wrong. According to the vice principal, the school has made the students apologize to the teacher, and he believes that they now regret what they did.
Others who know the students seem to think otherwise. A classmate of the 11 members said that they were complaining about the media reports and were angry over punishment by their parents. One 8th-grader acquainted with these students said, “Their blog was flooded with postings after the newspaper article came out and there was a comment that said ‘Hundreds of people are browsing – this is cool,’ so I don’t think they’re really sorry.”
A junior high school principal in the Tokai area commented on the difficulty in handling children. “They’re not used to being scolded at home, so they can’t comprehend why they would be reprimanded by teachers. Furthermore, they resort to running away from home and wrist-cutting… they know they can stop teachers from taking any strong action.”
The pregnant teacher, though, has defended those students and hopes that they will understand the importance of life, because “both her child and the students have a future” to live.