Authorities looking into second abuse complaint

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Authorities looking into second abuse complaint

Officials from the Samsan Police Precinct in Incheon said on Sunday that they are questioning a 25-year-old preschool teacher over allegations that she habitually abused her students.

The case comes on the heels of another incident in which a day care teacher in Incheon was caught on tape smacking a 4-year-old girl to the ground. The 33-year-old, known only by her family name Yang, was arrested without warrant by police on Thursday after the video went viral.

The police - who launched the investigation Wednesday following a parent’s claim that the 25-year-old woman, surnamed Kim, was “handling children violently” - said they had uncovered CCTV footage that showed the teacher hitting a 4-year-old girl on the head with pencils and shoving her during a class on Jan. 12.

It also showed her hitting another student in the face after he spilled a drink in class last month.

The footage also showed Kim hitting about 10 students, including the two 4-year-olds, with her hands or fists. They either fell onto the ground or were pushed away.

According to the police, Kim has a second-level day care teacher license and has worked at the day nursery since February 2013. Day care teaching licenses are divided into three classes.

A second-level license is eligible to anyone who has graduated from college or a vocational school, or those who have earned the lowest-level license and possess at least one year of field experience. Authorities added that Kim admitted to smacking the children for disciplinary purposes but denied habitual abuse.

On Saturday, the Yeonsu Police Precinct in Incheon announced that a detention warrant had been issued for the 33-year-old day care center teacher, surnamed Yang, whose abuse of a 4-year-old was caught on tape on Jan. 8 and circulated around the Internet.

The CCTV footage that showed her smacking the girl on Jan. 8 became a national sensation and was reported on CNN on Friday.

“The police have sufficient evidence to prove her guilt,” said Incheon District Court Judge Choi Eui-ho, adding that Yang could potentially destroy evidence and posed a flight risk.

Authorities plan to forward the case to the prosecution later this week and are further analyzing past CCTV footage that showed the woman abusing other students at the day care.

Police are also looking into the owner of the day care center over suspicions that she knew about the abuse and allowed it to continue.

News of Yang’s case also shed light on an earlier incident. The Namdong Police Precinct said over the weekend that a detention warrant request for a 48-year-old day care teacher in Incheon had been denied on Dec. 26. The woman is believed to have repeatedly hurled a 3-year-old boy to the ground earlier in December when he could not sleep.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]
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