It made the news over the weekend in Japan that middle schoolers in Gamagori City, Aichi Prefecture were forced to drink diluted hydrochloric acid as punishment for failing to perform a lab experiment correctly.

According to the local board of education, on January 18, a male science teacher assigned his class an experiment using magnets and iron filings. He told the class that anyone failing to get the correct result would be forced to drink hydrochloric acid. When two students didn’t get a successful result, the teacher handed each of them a beaker after tasting a bit of it himself.

One student took a sip and immediately spat it out. The other drank all of his, later telling school investigators that it tasted like drinking lemon juice. The incident came to light after another student related the incident to his parents.

The Gamagori Board of Education reported that the teacher explained that the acid was highly diluted and therefore posed no heath risk to the children. The Board itself issued a statement saying, “As this incident posed a risk to the life and health of students, it was a grave failure of leadership, and we can only apologize to students and their families. We are currently deciding on disciplinary measures for the teacher involved.”

The school administrators also visited the two students at their homes and formally apologized.

Coming on the heels of another incident when a student committed suicide after being repeatedly hit by his basketball coach, the story sparked outrage online, with many commenters baying for blood.

“The teacher should be forced to drink acid too, and not diluted!”
“He’s not a teacher, he’s a mad scientist.”
“Maybe that jerk would like to try eating some shit.”

However, others pointed out that at the concentration the teacher prepared, there was no risk of health problems, even if it scared the kids.

Either way, I’m suddenly thinking my chemistry teacher wasn’t so strict after all…

Source: Nikkei Shimbun, Livedoor
Image: HDW