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Some Schools Ask Students to Keep Silent

Posted March. 14, 2005 22:05,   


The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development and Police Agency are now receiving reports on school violence and the resulting damage, which have not been successful so far due to the schools’ reluctance to cooperate.

Unlike the police, there are few cases that are reported to the local office of education and schools. Furthermore, some schools were confirmed to have asked their students to remain silent.

The police initially issued an arrest warrant yesterday to students who committed violence toward other students since the announcement of its reports.

The number of reported cases is very low, however. Until now, a total of 36 cases were reported to the police. They are questioning 95 people accused in the cases.

Most of the cases, however, were not reported by students who committed the violent acts, but by family members of the injured students.

To add insult to injury, there is no case that was reported via local schools or calls established for reporting school violence in the local offices of education located in Seoul and the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.

This is due to the prevailing perception among injured students: reporting to the school will cause revenge rather than cracking down on school violence.

“I had a consultation with a class teacher due to a bully who has bothered me consistently. She said that I had to keep low-key and not to get on his nerves,” said Kim, 16, of Seoul S Girls’ Middle School.

“This is evidence that we have been passive in tackling school violence so far. From now on, schools and organizations for education should pay more attention to school violence and extend hands to students who are being intimidated by violence at school,” said Song Yeon-suk, 41, director of the Council for Tackling School Violence.

Some schools have even asked students to keep silent on school violence. “With the Iljinhoe incident triggering serious concerns in society, the principal of my school stressed at teachers’ meeting, that ‘there is no violence in this school.’ Given such an atmosphere that forces students to be silent, I am wondering if the investigation can go as intended,” said Kim, teacher of B High School in Gyeonggi-do.

“A class teacher told us to report violence acts only to the school because if it is reported to other places, the police will arrest some of the students and the teachers will not be able to protect them,” said Sim, 15, in the second grade of D Middle School, Seoul.

“My teacher told me not to talk to anyone except her with the promise that she will solve the problem without any fuss,” said Kim, 15, in the third grade of E Middle School.

Meanwhile, the Police Agency announced the “Security Measure for Eradication and Prevention of School Violence” and decided to receive school violence calls around the clock, through existing emergency calls, such as calls for finding lost kids (182) and calls for helping women suffering from prostitution (117).

In terms of penalty for school violence, the Gangwon Local Police Agency issued an arrest warrant to A, 17, in the first grade of high school located in Gangwon-do, for taking another student’s property.

According to the police, A is suspected to have taken about 2.2 million won from B, 16, in the first grade of the high school, over 10 occasions, from September to December 2004.

According to result of the police investigation, A threatened B—who is physically weak—to finance the cost for A’s running away from home and to deposit money into bank account. The police is now investigating the whereabouts of A, who has recently disappeared.

needjung@donga.com syroh@donga.com