Junior high school student in Japan punished with in-school suspension for plucking her eyebrows

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A Fukuoka Prefecture junior high school in Kurume, Japan, punished a female student with three days of “separate-room schooling” and a reflective essay after discovering she had plucked her eyebrows.

An inspection was conducted by the public school in April to evaluate student compliance with the school’s hairstyling and dying rules. A 14-year-old student, however, was given an infraction for plucking the edge of her eyebrows for a groomed appearance.

The school punished her with “besshitu toko,” a form of discipline where students are forced to do their schoolwork in a separate classroom. She was also asked to write a reflective essay.

The school’s director of education, Miki Hata, defended the decision and claimed that plucking eyebrows can cause a distraction from schoolwork.

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“I believe the school may be worried that, being at a developmental age, children may become distracted by overly focusing on their eyebrows and hairstyles, and neglect essential aspects of their education and lifestyles,” Miki told Abema Times.

A councilperson of Kurume city, 61-year-old Mutsumi Kaneko, argued that the rule lacks “logic” and that the punishment was too severe.

“How is it wrong for her to groom her eyebrows? By not letting her study in her regular class, and making her study in a separate room, did they think that was going to make her eyebrows grow back? This school’s eyebrow rule is outside the bounds of logic,” Mutsumi told Abema Times.

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A lawyer familiar with school regulations believes that the school may be depriving students of their freedom.

“I think teachers shouldn’t misunderstand that they are doing it for their students, but they should be aware that it has the effect of atrophying students and depriving them of their freedom. Don’t do it,” the lawyer said.

Beginning on April 1, the Tokyo metropolitan government began implementing five changes to dress codes in around 200 schools. Some of these changes include removing the long-held rule that students are not allowed to dye their hair or wear a “two-block” hairstyle. Rules controlling underwear color and punishments in the “form of house arrest” will also be dropped.

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