Let's Bully the Board of Education

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Let's Bully the Board of Education

It is shocking that a 6th-grade girl''s parents found it necessary to hire bodyguards to protect their daughter from school bullies. And while it may not console those students who still suffer the brutality of school bullying daily, there was a court case involving school violence, which held the school, teachers, the sadistic students and their parents responsible.

Of course, the problem of bullying in schools is nothing new, but it is unprecedented that a parent would go so far as to hire bodyguards to protect a child. It is a problem of profound concern when our educational institutions have degenerated to the point that parents feel compelled to resort to such methods to ensure their child''s safety.

The girl in question transferred to a school in Seoul this spring, and when she became afraid of going to school because of the bullying, her parents tried talking to her classmates, meeting with her teachers, and other measures, all to no avail. In a subsequent confrontation with classmates, the girl sustained an injury requiring two weeks of treatment, prompting the parents to file complaints with the police and the Board of Education and to hire the bodyguards. Was this an overreaction? Or is something seriously amiss in our schools?

Violence and ostracism in schools is a matter that affects all of society. In a cabinet meeting early last year, President Kim Dae-jung directed the Ministry of Education to take appropriate steps to stamp out the problem once and for all. There is little evidence that any change has taken place. The abuse is as bad as ever, and the need for a solution as urgent. Had the school in question dealt with the problem by either suspending the offenders or expelling them, the situation would not have escalated to the point that the parents felt the need to hire bodyguards. The Seoul District Court ruled that 60 percent of responsibility for group harassment falls on the perpetrators and their parents and the remaining 40 percent on the school authorities. Parents too are legally and morally responsible for teaching their children social skills and respect for others. If the purpose of education is to build character and impart knowledge, school violence must be eliminated.
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