[EDITORIALS]Shield youths from violenceTo stop school violence and protect students, the government has proclaimed a “war against school violence.” Although the law on prevention and punishment of school violence was enacted last July, the government thinks that violence is rampant inside and outside school campuses. The ministries of Education, Culture and Tourism, the Commission on Youth Protection, the Supreme Prosecutors Office and the National Police Agency have jointly carried out a survey on school violence, questioning more than five million students from fourth graders to high school seniors. According to the survey, a little over 2 percent of the students said they experienced physical violence; 3 percent experienced intimidation; more than 4 percent experienced extortion; and around 0.6 percent suffered from group harassment.
According to the Education Ministry and police, school violence is organized, perpetrated by younger students and is more cruel nowadays. Organized rings of primary, middle and high school students, called Iljinhoe ― essentially, hooligans ― are expanding to bigger regional units from schools. The groups often wield weapons and commit criminal acts comparable to those of adult gangs, such as sexual violence and robbery. They also break laws to make money for mobile phone fees.
School violence imparts enormous physical and psychological shock on victims. It makes normal school life impossible, can kill a victim in extreme cases and prevent the victim from leading a normal life as an adult. The reason why school violence never gets rooted out is because the victims don’t report it for fear of retaliation.
The government plans to introduce an amnesty period for perpetrators of violence, but it is difficult to expect people to voluntarily come forward. It is necessary for parents and teachers to give affectionate attention to their children and students by watching them carefully and counseling them when they show dubious behavior.
School violence can’t be rooted out only through the crackdown. To help our youths grow up sound and healthy, we have to clean up the surroundings of our homes and schools. Violent television programs, movies and computer games contribute to school violence.
Most school violence crimes are imitated. We have to prevent impressionable youths from viewing violence in cyber space.