Back in 2008, at an Osaka elementary school there was an incident involving a 3rd grade student who smashed two bottles of milk together during lunch time. As a result, the bottles shattered sending a shard of glass into the child’s eye and leaving him disabled. It’s certainly a terrible accident but what followed had turned the public’s sympathy into outrage.
The child’s parents had sued the school board for 36,870,000 yen (US$500,000), on 9 May of this year they received a 12,000,000 yen (US$150,000) settlement from the Osaka municipal government according to a report by Sankei News.
Upon hearing this outcome, residents of Osaka along with others across Japan have raised a collective hand via Twitter, to ask “Why?” And rightfully so, seeing as this settlement was courtesy of municipal taxes.
At the heart of this matter is who had caused the accident. It would seem by the settlement that according the cold rule of the law, the school would be liable since the child had no adult supervision at the time of the incident.
However, according to the general public’s point-of-view as expressed by countless tweets, the boy did this to himself therefore doesn’t deserve a dime of taxpayers’ money. Kids do stupid things sometimes and even if a teacher were present, they probably couldn’t have prevented the outcome.
It’s possible that this hostility is partly related to the growing trend of what are called “Monster Parents.” These types of parents are known for harassing school faculty and staff with unreasonable complaints like their children’s poor grades when they should instead be focusing on the child’s own work habits.
This certainly looks to be a case of monster parenting where rather than use this tragedy as a valuable lesson not to be reckless with glass, the boy learns how to pass the buck onto the government and ultimately punish everyone else in the community by taking their money.
Looking at the situation this way it’s easy to see why everyone is upset. There is also the dangerous precedent that this case sets. It’s hard – but not impossible – to imagine some parents may actually encourage their kids to get injured on school property in hopes of a quick payday.
It’s human nature to point the finger at someone in situations like these be it the monster parents, negligent school, or foolish child. It makes us feel better to have a “bad guy.” It gives us balance.
But for all most of know; the teachers were doing their best, the parents are nice people who try to teach their child how to behave himself, and the boy is a good kid who just did something stupid for a moment that sadly cost him his right eye. There are very few people in the world who can look back to their childhood and not remember something they did that put their well-being into jeopardy.