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School violence victims have low expectations of schools

School violence victims have low expectations of schools

Posted May. 29, 2023 08:14,   

Updated May. 29, 2023 08:14


Disappointed with school authorities lacking proper action against school violence, a growing number of parents whose children struggle with bullying commission secret agencies or private detectives to keep their children safe and make things right.

A parent of a middle school student in Yangcheon-gu, southwestern Seoul hired private bodyguards from a private detective agency for the child’s safety on the way to and from school for two weeks last November. The kid was blackmailed by a bully who was put on short-term probation. The accused even threatened to kill the victim, claiming that the school bullying accusations would get in the way of him being accepted to special-purpose high schools. The victim’s parent said, “I took a two-week leave to protect my kid but had no option but to employ bodyguards for the sake of safety.”

Indeed, many secret agencies are easily accessible online, targeting those subjected to school violence with advertising slogans such as “100% confidential,” “Deferred payment system,” and “Top 1% secret agency.” A dozen companies responded to inquiries and said that they could collect evidence of school violence and the personal information of bullies and send bodyguards on the way to and from school. One of the companies interviewed even proposed to intimidate bullies if extra money is paid. The cost range varies from 2.5 million to 5 million won per week. According to another secret agency, inquiries made by victims of school violence increased by 40 percent as students returned to school following the lifting of social distancing.

The popularity of privately run agencies among school violence victims and their parents is explained by the notion that school and police authorities take poor action against school violence.

A study done by the Ministry of Education and the Korean Educational Development Institute revealed that around 54,000 students surveyed were subjected to school violence last year, twice larger than 27,000 two years ago. Added to this, one-third of victims of verbal abuse, extortion, and sexual violence responded that their issues were left unaddressed.

However, hiring private detectives to address school violence can be considered unlawful and illegitimate. Lawyer Sim Chang-bo at Seoul Nambu District Office of Education said, “Even if you are a victim of school violence, you can get in trouble if you tail the perpetrators or collect their personal information because it violates the Personal Information Protection Act.” He pointed out that courts and investigators may refuse to accept evidence that is even obvious and compelling if it is collected illegally.