Private kindergarten teacher suspected of abuse

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Private kindergarten teacher suspected of abuse

The police on Tuesday said that they were investigating a 27-year-old teacher at a private kindergarten over allegations of child abuse, the latest in a spate of similar cases at local day cares.

The Incheon Seobu Police Precinct suspect the teacher, identified by her surname Lee, pinched seven of her 5-year-old students and even kicked them when she was annoyed by their behavior. She is also believed to have threatened some of the children, saying she would take them to a haunted house if they did not listen to her.

The case is the first in a series of recent abuse investigations to concern a teacher at a private kindergarten, which generally see more parental support and involvement than public institutes.

It typically costs around 300,000 won ($275) to send a child to a private kindergarten, even with governmental support of 220,000 won per month. Governmental funding covers most of the cost for public schools.

Following reports by concerned parents, police officers were dispatched to the kindergarten, where they confiscated the security footage. The storage device contained no records since mid-November, however, and authorities have requested its restoration.

They are also looking into whether the CCTV was broken or if the teachers intentionally deleted video clips.

“We began the investigation when the parents reported that the owner of the kindergarten refused to disclose the security footage to them,” a police officer from the Incheon Seobu Police Precinct said. “We are currently checking whether the report is true.”

The police added that the incident came to light when the parents learned about the recent child abuse cases at day care centers in Incheon and asked their children about their experiences at their own school.

Authorities have begun questioning the children Lee allegedly abused and their parents, and plan to summon her for further questioning. The teacher reportedly admitted to some of the allegations when confronted by parents.

In another case, the Samsan Police Precinct in Incheon announced that the 25-year-old day care center teacher surnamed Kim who is believed to have physically abused at least 10 of her students will be summoned for investigation on Wednesday.

In addition, the Incheon Namdong Police Precinct is currently re-investigating another child abuse incident in which a 48-year-old day care center teacher is believed to have hurled a 2-year-old boy to the ground on several occasions. Though authorities’ request for a detention warrant was denied, they are continuing to analyze CCTV footage for evidence of other misconduct.

BY KIM BONG-MOON, CHOI MO-RAN [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]


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