Tsugeno High School in Aichi Prefecture is currently in the public eye because of reports that the school, which is designed to give a second chance to dropouts, provided students with “smoking” rooms.
The school claims the rooms are part of an anti-smoking program the school is doing. The rooms are equipt with ashtrays, however teachers discipline or counsel students whenever evidence of smoking is found.
The school also made the claim that they provided the rooms because they have students who are over twenty years old, and fear a forest fire if the students smoke outdoors.
Although it is true that there are students over the age of twenty, the number of such students is in the teens while the total number of students is about 230. Four “smoking education rooms” are set up in the boys’ dorms.
The small number of students old enough to smoke doesn’t seem to justify the number of smoking areas provided, nor does the fact that these rooms were in areas accessible to students of any age. The idea that students over twenty could legally smoke at the school also contradicts the idea that evidence of smoking would lead to teacher student counseling sessions, considering that the culprits who left ashes in the ashtrays could very well have been the students who were of age.
There has also been news of parents sending their students the cigarettes they’d been smoking. There is no way to buy cigarettes on the school grounds, including the teacher only areas.
This all smells like another case of society giving up on these kids. I would be less disappointed with the school if they argued that because these kids are mostly former dropouts, the school has to make attendance and education a priority over the smoking problem. In a sense, saying that the most important thing was to get these kids in class, and while emphasizing getting them onto the right track, they’d work on getting them to quit smoking.
The school chose however to put a less believable spin on the story bringing the whole school and all its policies under suspicion. If the parents of some students are also aware and accepting of the smoking room policies, then this is a failure of all the adult parties involved, and all the more reason that the school should be forthcoming and tell the truth about everything going on.
If it is indeed, as the worst case situation would suggest, a case of the school taking the easy way out letting the kids have their way (being unable to properly discipline them on the smoking issue), then the school should at least come clean and the authorities should step up to provide the students with the type of discipline and education they need.