A 12-year-old schoolgirl in Tokyo committed suicide in November after being harassed by her classmates via the chat feature on tablets distributed by her school, according to her parents.
The girl’s parents and their lawyer held a press conference at the Education Ministry building on September 13, where they disclosed details of the incident. They called on the government to review its anti-bullying measures and ensure that these types of devices cannot be used to bully other students.
“She was an innocent and happy child,” the girl’s mother said at the press conference. “I didn’t know she was bullied until she committed suicide.”
The girl was in sixth grade at an elementary school run by the city of Machida in Tokyo, and she had left notes saying her classmates bullied her.
Her classmates exchanged derogatory messages about her and called her “annoying” and “disgusting” via the chat function on the tablets that the school distributes to each student for her to use. as a study tool, according to the girl’s parents.
A notebook titled “How to Kill Her” was also discovered and confiscated by the school.
The Ministry of Education has encouraged elementary and secondary schools to provide a personal computer or tablet to every student since April as part of an initiative to promote digitization in education.
But the girl’s parents said the tablets had become a hotbed of bullying and urged the government to conduct a policy review to ensure other students are not bullied in the same way. manner.
Parents said they learned from their daughter’s friends in the same class and other parents that hurtful messages about her were sent to the devices via the chat feature. The girl had named some of her classmates and described how she was bullied in notes she left, according to her parents and their lawyer.
The girls’ school had learned of “problems” between the pupils last September and had kept an eye on them since then, according to the city’s education council.
The board said it called the case “serious” under the law to promote harassment prevention measures in February. He began investigating after setting up an anti-harassment measures committee in March.