Attempt at discipline feels especially misguided when you learn the type of school he worked at.

How long can you hold a fart?

Flatulence may not be quite the near-instantaneous impulse of a sneeze, but neither is it the well-in-advance, gradually ratcheting-up urgency of a bowel movement. So while many people build a morning constitutional into their a.m. routine, most would say it’s kind of hard to schedule your farts.

Nevertheless, a middle school teacher in Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture tried to make one of his students do just that. Following one too many intestinal zephyrs during class time, the teacher had the student make a written apology, which contained the promise “I will fart in the bathroom during break time.” The manuscript even contained a punishment clause for non-compliance, stating “If I break this promise, I will run 10 laps around the school cycling course.” No designation was made as to whether or not the student would be allowed to fart while running.

The apology was written last June, and was hung on the wall of the classroom, where others could see it, until this month (the Japanese school year ends in late March).

While this at first sounds like a draconian way to impose classroom discipline, it is worth remembering that junior high kids find farting hilarious. Some people are quite talented at farting at will, and some teachers no doubt find themselves having to deal with class clowns disturbing their lessons by purposely trumpeting out audible butt blasts.

However, since the written apology by the student in Tochigi mentions farting in the restroom instead, it doesn’t sound like he was passing gas in class because he wanted to get cheap laughs. What’s more, the incident took place at a special needs school, where one would expect educators would be more accommodating of behavioral idiosyncrasies among their pupils, and compelling a student to wait until the next schoolwide break, which could be hours away, until he can fart sounds like a needless strict regulation.

Thankfully, the student was never actually made to run laps for farting, though it’s unclear if this was because of leniency on the teacher’s part or because the student actually managed to suppress all of his farts. Although the teacher claims the written apology and its terms came about through mutual consent with the student, and that no coercion was involved, once the existence of the document and its display came to the attention of school administrators, they quickly denounced it as inappropriate, with a particular emphasis on the inclusion of a punishment clause as deplorable. “Trying to regulate biological phenomena is a problem,” the school said in a statement, implicitly reasserting students’ rights to be as free as the wind in breaking wind whenever they feel it necessary.

Source: Kyodo via Mainichi Shimbun via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso

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