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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 7/6/2001 6:04:49 AM EST
LA Times http://www.latimes.com/wires/20010706/tCB00V8603.html Friday, July 6, 2001 Japan Schools Struggle With Safety Associated Press Writer TOKYO-- Security guards. Tear gas canisters. Self-defense training for teachers. In the month since eight children were stabbed to death in Japan's bloodiest school massacre, principals across the country have gone on a security binge. But while most agree the June 8 killing spree demonstrated how vulnerable many of Japan's schools are, some are now wondering if the reaction has gotten out of hand. "What happened in Ikeda could have happened at any school," said Noriyoshi Mukoyama, the principal of Seishi Elementary, a large public school in central Tokyo. "I think we have no choice but to err on the side of caution." A week after a 37 -year-old former mental patient carried out the horrifying assault at Ikeda Elementary, Mukoyama gathered his staff in his school's tiny gymnasium, where they swapped chalk and textbooks for a two-pronged pole used by Japanese police to subdue violent suspects. PTA representatives watched as teachers and administrators practiced thrusting and parrying with the 6 -foot aluminum poles, three of which were offered to the school by local police. Children weren't invited. Mukoyama said he was afraid of scaring them. But that's exactly what happened in a small town near Kyoto, when one principal's determination to give students a safety lesson turned into an exercise in terror. One morning last month, fifth-graders at Kuni Elementary School were getting ready for class when a man wearing a cap and dark sunglasses burst into the room brandishing a 20 -inch metal rod. Panicked 11 -year-olds stumbled over desks and chairs trying to get away from the intruder -a teacher in disguise. One girl was so frightened that she got sick after returning home, and several students were too scared to be left alone. Disturbed parents complained to the local board of education, and Principal Tokiyo Shimada apologized. Most of the safety measures taken by Japanese schools since the tragedy have been uncontroversial. Gates have been shut at many schools, security guards have been posted and parents are organizing safety patrols. At Meguro Seibi Elementary School, a private institution in southwestern Tokyo, teachers have started locking the side gates when class is in session and requiring visitors to wear badges. But Principal Takamitsu Omori said he is trying not to cause students excessive concern. "The last thing we want to do is make children feel unsafe at school," he said. "We believe it's a matter of raising awareness among teachers, not running kids through drills." Some educators and parents also fear hastily proposed security measures may in fact be safety hazards.
Link Posted: 7/6/2001 6:05:50 AM EST
A Tokyo suburb made headlines when it announced that it wants each of its 13 elementary schools to keep one tear gas canister on hand in case of attack. "I don't like the idea of tear gas cannisters lying around schools," said Masako Takagi, a 36 -year-old mother of four. "Just think what could happen if kids got hold of one." Tokyo has budgeted about $12 million to install alarm systems linking 5,000 private and public schools to metropolitan police. Education experts say that's probably money well spent, but emphasize that there are no quick fixes. Osamu Nakamura, professor at Chiba University and author of a book on crimes involving children, says that Japanese schools should be redesigned with security in mind. Few have been built, for example, to give teachers a view of the playground from their common room. "We just have to keep intruders out," he said. "Fortunately, it's not like in the United States, where the kids inside are the ones committing the crime." Copyright 2001 Los Angeles Times
Link Posted: 7/6/2001 8:10:14 AM EST
I think that it's good that the Japaneese government puts so much security after just one major incident. In the U.S., even though there is security, things still happen at schools.
Link Posted: 7/6/2001 12:03:51 PM EST
It is too late to close the barn door after the cows have left.
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