小6女子自殺―小さな命の叫びを聴く

2010/11/11
--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 10
EDITORIAL: Suicides in schools
小6女子自殺―小さな命の叫びを聴く

Akiko Uemura, a sixth-grader living in Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture, who killed herself last month, wrote the following on a cartoon image she sketched in a notebook: "After all, friends are great!"
 「やっぱり『友達』っていいな!」と題した漫画をノートに残し、命を絶った群馬県桐生市の小学6年生、上村明子(うえむら・あきこ)さん。

The results of an inquiry conducted by the elementary school she attended were announced on Monday.
彼女が通っていた学校による調査結果が、明らかにされた。

Initially, the school denied that Akiko had been bullied.
 学校は初め、いじめの存在を認めなかった。

The report, however, concludes that harassment did in fact occur. It cites, for example, insults directed toward her by several of her classmates and the fact that she always ate her lunch alone. But it does not draw a clear link with her suicide.
報告では、複数の子から心ない言葉を投げかけられたこと、一人だけで給食を食べていたことから、いじめはあったと判断。ただ、自殺との関係は明らかではないとした。

With no suicide note found, a mere two weeks is insufficient to illuminate all the facts. It is utterly heartbreaking, however, that no one seriously listened or responded to this little girl's cries for help.
 遺書は見つかっておらず、わずか2週間での解明は難しい。それでも、小さな心の叫びをどこかで誰かが受け止められなかったかと、痛みが胸に刺さって抜けない。

Several basic lessons can be learned from this tragedy.
 いくつか教訓の芽を指摘できる。

One concerns the response to chaotic conditions in Akiko's sixth-grade class. There was reportedly a breakdown in discipline from the latter half of the first term, which ran from April.
Students were unruly and would wander away from their assigned groups during the lunch hour. They would ignore instructions from the class teacher.
 一つは、学級崩壊への対処のしかただ。1学期後半から子どもたちの落ち着きがなく、給食の班が乱れ、担任の指導も聞き入れられなかった。

In the midst of this confusion, it appears that Akiko found herself increasingly isolated. Other teachers stepped in to help deal with the issues in the class, but were unable to zero in on the anguish of one of its members.
クラス全体が混乱する中で、明子さんは孤立に追いやられたかに見える。他の先生も応援に入ったが、一人の苦しみまでには目がゆき届かなかった。

Both Akiko and her parents repeatedly complained about the verbal abuse. Each time her teacher responded by speaking with the perpetrators, making changes in group assignments and taking other steps.
 明子さんや家族から「嫌なことを言われる」といった訴えが、何度か寄せられた。そのつど担任は、相手の子に声をかけたり、班替えをしたりするなどの対応をとった。

Now we can only wonder what responses teachers could have taken in order to instill greater awareness in the bullying students of the impact of their behavior. Was Akiko provided with any refuge from her distress?
いじめた子たちに気づきを与えるには、どんな指導が望ましかったか。明子さんに、逃げ場を用意してあげられなかっただろうか。

Her family remains unconvinced by the principal's explanation. Both the school and the local board of education say the investigation will continue.
 校長らの説明に、家族は納得していない。学校や教育委員会は調査を続けるという。

Causes of suicide are generally difficult to pin down.
Nevertheless, no effort should be spared to share knowledge of what happened, reflect on the shortcomings in the response and issue a scrupulous explanation of the findings. Without such a process, there can be no recovery for those left behind or any hope of prevention.
一般に自殺は原因をつきとめにくいものだが、そうだとしても、何が起きたか事実を共有し、何が欠けていたか考え、丁寧に説明する。そうした過程なしには、残された者の回復と、真の再発防止はない。

We suggest enlisting outside experts. The children responsible for the harassment may also be hurt and may require counseling. The lessons ultimately brought to light should, furthermore, be widely shared with the rest of society.
 外部の専門家の知恵も借りてはどうか。いじめた子も傷ついているかもしれない。そのケアも必要だ。そのうえで、最終的にくみとれた教訓は、広く発信してほしい。

According to education ministry data, schools are aware of 165 student suicides in the last fiscal year. In nearly 60 percent of these cases, the specific circumstances surrounding the death of the children are listed as "unknown."
 文部科学省によると昨年度、学校が把握した児童生徒の自殺は165人。子どもが置かれていた状況が「不明」という事例が、6割近い。

All parents of suicide victims want to know why their children chose to kill themselves. In many cases, schools fail to conduct detailed inquiries and then allow the controversy to subside without uncovering the real causes.
 なぜ我が子が死んだか知りたいと、親は誰しも思う。なのに、学校が詳しい聞き取りをせず、原因をあいまいにしたまま沈静化を図ることが少なくない。

Denying from the outset that any bullying occurred is a sure way to invite mistrust.
最初からいじめを否定するといった対応は不信を招く。

Incidents of child suicide continue to occur nationwide.
 各地で子どもの自殺が続く。

In Kawasaki, where a third-year junior high school boy took his life this June, the city hall took three months to compile a report on the case.
 6月に中学3年の男子が自殺した川崎市では、3カ月かけて報告を作成。

In addition to acknowledging that harassment took place, the report also pointed to the student's psychological problems at that time, issues with guidance at the school in general and other factors. The boy's parents said the report was a first step toward trying to change today's schools.
いじめと認定したうえで、生徒の内面の葛藤(かっとう)や、学校全体の指導の問題まで指摘した。両親は「学校をどう変えるかに向かう第一歩」と評価した。

Just what were these troubled young people trying to tell us? It is the duty of adults to strain their ears and listen to the pleas of children in dire need.
 それぞれの命が訴えようとしたことは何だったか。耳を澄ませ、必死で探る。大人の責務である。
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by kiyoshimat | 2010-11-12 06:23 | 英字新聞

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