To protect themselves and their families, these students didn’t hesitate at all to take action

Around the last week of February, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the nationwide closure of schools until further notice. However, despite that announcement, some schools have decided to re-open early.

And now the same is happening for schools in Ibaraki prefecture, except students at one particular high school have decided to protest by willfully not attending.

▼ They can’t blame you for infecting others if you don’t go out in the first place.

While there are only 80 third-year students protesting, they managed to mobilize and went as far as submitting a statement to the prefectural board of education. We’ve compiled their two main demands here:

1. Until the prefecture is able to adequately supply all students with masks, schools should remain closed for the time being. 

2. During school closure, an online system should be created so we can continue receiving our education without the risk of getting infected/infecting others. 

Ibaraki prefecture has roughly 125 confirmed cases and isn’t the worst hit prefecture in Japan, but the alarm and dissent expressed by the students is understandable. Considering the large number of students packed in each class and the amount of bodies coming and going through school buildings, educational institutions are logically a prime hotspot during an epidemic.

Japanese netizens in general applauded the students’ demands. Many took to the keyboard in a show of support as well as speculating how the school would respond.

“This is the student movement of the Reiwa period!”

“Kudos to these kids! You can’t tell people to stay at home yet force children to go to school.”

“One could say in other countries protesting is a commonplace occurrence. But in Japan, that’s not the case and I wonder how the adults will take this. This is the end for a Japan that calls children selfish and demands that they blindly listen to adults. It’s commendable that the students were able to pull this off.”

“Isn’t it the job of adults to protect kids? I really hope the school doesn’t consider severe disciplinary action because that would be so disgraceful.”

“This is a life and death matter for some students. If the students get infected, then isn’t there a high chance they could infect their family members too? Everyone has to be careful.”

However, some Twitter users were skeptical of the students’ intentions. A few accused the students of only wanting to take a breather from school. Others had hot takes such as this netizen:

“Because this school is known for having pretty smart students, they probably want extra time to study the subjects they’re weak on. They’ll reap more study benefits if there’s no homework.”

These types of statements seem rather heartless, considering students have to juggle their academics as well as their physical, emotional, and mental well-being during such an unprecedented time.

Luckily for the protesting students and anticipatory net users though, Hitachi Daiichi High School’s administration released a statement on the school’s official website a few days later. In the statement, we found that the school would not be re-opening, though instructors would remain at the school to answer questions, assist students, and provide consultation during select hours. The school also recommended students to check their temperature every morning, and if they need to go to school for whatever reason, to wear a mask.

However, whether or not the school’s statement is in response to the protesting student isn’t clear, given that just a few days ago Prime Minister Shinzo Abe extended the state-of-emergency status from several hard-hit prefectures to the whole nation.

Regardless of the high school administration’s decision, the new statement must be a relief for students and especially for high-risk members of their families. We hope that the school eventually shifts to an online system so instructors and staff members can remotely support students while also safeguarding their health.

Source: Livedoor News via Jin
Top image: photoAC
Insert image: Pakutaso
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