Thank you for being the “eyes” in this case, whoever you may be. When any kind of abuse is kept a secret, it is bound to repeat. When abuse is spoken out, when it is known to more people, when more eyes are watching, it makes it difficult for further abuse to happen. Therefore, your only “job” as a reader of this case, is to be informed (and if you would like: to seek more information from both sides).
– Know that there is a Labour Dispute between the teacher and the school.
– Know that it stemmed from harassment and the silencing of it, according to the teacher.
– Know the different paths the teacher has taken to solve her problem.
– Know that the teacher has given her evidence of her claims fully in court, and based upon it and the school’s evidence, the judge has made a recommendation.
– Know that this court case is officially public, and is open to any body to attend at any time (in Kasumigaseki, Tokyo District Court, 13th Fl, 部１９ on given dates and times).
In this case, the problem happened to a teacher. It is important to know of some precedent should it ever happen to another teacher, or a student, his family or even other international school teachers in similar circumstances. Currently, there is no written precedent of what to do when you have a serious problem within an international school. Members of the school community remember that Japan Soccer Coach and former St. Mary’s parent, Ruy Ramos (ラモス瑠偉) had once taken the opportunity to address the issue of school bullying on Japanese TV in the early 2000s.
St. Mary’s deserves to be an excellent school, not by omission of its problems, but by solving problems properly. Currently, the school has no clear teacher-evaluation procedure: how/when/why a teacher should continue teaching or be fired. This may cause the school to have many uncertified teachers, teachers who have not been evaluated in years, good teachers who are overlooked etc. In this case, a teacher was fired on an undocumented whim. Teachers leave their home countries behind to educate the students at St. Mary’s and spend a lot of their own money to set up lives here, just like other ex-pat families. Some degree of fairness and security is necessary for the stability of the school and the retention of good teachers in the long run. Few internationally-savvy teachers these days would want to stay long-term at a school with one-year contracts, no clear policy about job security, and large set-up costs (i.e. 6 months rent upfront in Setagaya-ku).
It is important not to fear solving problems. Be a critical thinker. Read the blogs and ask questions. Read flyers, recycle them and keep the seed of information should it ever become useful to you.
Japan is one of the best places in the world in which to live and work. There are laws that are upheld and if private residents / citizens have a problem, there are judiciary channels through which it can be solved. Even foreign residents are protected fully under this civilized and gracious protection.
Thus, the teacher in this case, is very grateful to be able to resolve this administrative / labour dispute through the courts. There are much worse problems in the world, where people suffer greatly, without any recourse to help themselves.
Legalistically, this case is only a labour dispute. But of course, the drive to fight it properly has to do with the theme of: “abuse of power with impunity”.
Thus, to persist with this case, to bring watchful eyes on the teacher’s problem vis-a-vis certain administrators, it is hoped that the treatment of all teachers doesn’t deteriorate again. Furthermore, whether or not the case is successful for the teacher, this exercise in using this hard-won judicial system to check if she is right or wrong, is important in and of itself.
Here is Isabel Allende talking about the age-old problem of abuse of power with impunity from minute 15:56: