High school student of judo club in Oita Prefecture files lawsuit against violence by school coach

A student of the judo club of Nakatsu Higashi High School in Oita Prefecture filed a lawsuit on April 21, 2017 against the prefecture claiming damages of \23,920,000 for the injuries caused by the violence of the PE teacher/judo instructor during club activities.  

In July, 2016, during a randori (free practice) with the instructor, the student tried to grasp the back collar of the instructor, but while doing so grazed the left side of the instructor’s head with his fist. The instructor became upset, and repeatedly struck the face and the head of the unresisting student while shouting at the same time. He then threw the student to the floor. 

The victim suffered from a headache and nausea in addition to a swollen face, and was checked by a neurosurgeon in the city. He was diagnosed with head bruise and cervical spine sprain. As the symptoms continued, he had an examination at a hospital in Kitakyushu city in August, where he was diagnosed with cerebrospinal fluid hypovolemia (CSF hypovolemia) and central cervical cord injury. Surgery was conducted requiring him to stay in the hospital. The student still has depression, headaches and an eating disorder and has been unable to attend school since the incident. 

Two media articles in Japanese:
http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASK3Y3WFBK3YTPJB008.html by Asahi Shinbun, March 30, 2017 (Former coach slaps student during judo practice at Nakatsu Higashi High School)
http://kyouikublog.wpblog.jp/post-14935.html by Kyouiku Blog, April 26,2017 (Lawsuit filed against injury by the violence of judo instructor at a prefectural high school in Oita)

CSF hypovolemia and central cervical cord injury often occur when one is involved in a car accident or faces a blast in war. Why then, did a high school student suffer this during a judo practice? A media report wrote that the instructor hit the student two or three times as “corporal punishment”, or physical discipline, because he thought that the student had intentionally punched him. To cause the above symptoms, the power applied to the student by the instructor must have been enormous.

Corporal punishment in school is basically forbidden by the School Education Law. The few exceptions which allow the use of some physical interaction include preventing students from hurting themselves or others or the property of others, and only as a last resort.

The school has removed the teacher as the head coach of the judo club, followed by an apology to the student and the parents. The Education Committee of the prefecture said the disposition of the teacher would be discussed based on the result of the investigation by the police.


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