Anti-bully plans are announced

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Anti-bully plans are announced

The government yesterday announced a set of measures to stamp out school violence, one of President Park Geun-hye’s “four social evils.”

The Ministry of Education said in a statement released yesterday it will introduce a special, “experience-based program aimed to induce and increase students’ ability to better empathize and communicate with others” and run it in elementary, middle and high schools across the country by 2017.

“A school-violence prevention policy, one of the main pillars of the Park administration, should be centered on advanced prevention measures,” said Prime Minister Chung Hong-won while presiding over a meeting on the issue at the government complex in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul.

“To save even one student suffering from school violence, not only the government, but family, school and society will take part [in prevention measures],” he said.

The government said it will set up at least one counseling center dedicated to victims of school violence in each city.

The government also made it mandatory for schools to immediately report cases of school violence to the education office, a move intended to prevent schools from covering up incidents.

The Education Ministry also said it would include school-violence prevention classes in the regular curriculum. It said it would also increase the hours dedicated to arts and P.E. classes as they are thought to alleviate bullying.

President Park branded school violence and bullying one of four so-called social evils along with sexual violence, domestic violence and unsafe or adulterated food.

The government also announced a plan to designate 3,000 schools as exemplary institutions free of violence by 2014 and to provide state subsidies to them as rewards.

“We will give promotion advantages to teachers who actively contribute to their school getting on that list,” said the government.

A series of suicides by bullied teenagers in recent years have highlighted the problem in schools.

According to a survey by the Ministry of Education of 4.24 million students from the fourth to 12th grades conducted from March 25 to April 30, around 64,000 students reported they had been subjected to constant school bullying once or twice a week for more than four months.

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