Posted July. 17, 2010 11:52,
I made a mistake. I will receive any punishment but Im apparently going to be punished without an opportunity to give my explanation for the incident.
This is what a teacher at Munchang Elementary School in Seoul said at a meeting of a school committee on conflict resolution Thursday. Public outrage erupted after video footage of his assault on a student was posted on the Internet.
The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education fired the teacher to keep him away from students Friday. The assaulted student and his classmates also underwent psychological counseling in cooperation with a youth center.
A Munchang source agreed to a phone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo Friday, but said he is afraid of giving the impression of defending the teacher. He said the parents of the student victim visited the school July 9 and showed the video footage to the principal, who promised to issue a warning letter to the teacher.
After school, the parents also asked the teacher why he beat their child. The teacher said he made a mistake while attempting to get the student to break his habit of lying.
After the meeting, the victims father said, My child also made a mistake and asked the principal to cancel the warning. The school, however, issued the warning anyway.
The source said, I understand that the victims parents gave the footage to a parent organization and asked that it not be made public, adding, But the footage was spread on the Web and the school is in trouble.
Netizens criticized the teacher, with the school nearly paralyzed due to a flood of calls of protest. One angry citizen said, Let us know the teachers phone number. We cannot tolerate his act.
The schools belated response to the incident also invited criticism. Though it was informed of the beating July 9, it took no action against the teacher until Thursday, when the incident was known outside of the school.
To this, the school said, We didnt report it to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education because the (victims) parents didnt want punishment.
The education office, however, support the claim by civic groups that the teacher had committed violence against students several times before.
Voices in and outside of the school say the teacher ordered his students to stay in a room storing exercise equipment to punish them. When the students played with a ball in the room, however, he locked them up in the room. He is known to have lifted the students and thrown them down violently.