Chung Yoo-ra cheated her way through high school

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Chung Yoo-ra cheated her way through high school

Confirming that Choi Soon-sil’s daughter was “widely granted special treatment” on her test and class attendance scores during middle and high school, Seoul’s education authority proclaimed it would push through every possible legal measure to revoke her diplomas and punish government officials that gave her leeway.

The decision was announced Wednesday during an interim briefing on accusations that Chung Yoo-ra, 20, gained admission to the prominent Ewha Womans University last year as a dressage athlete by cheating her way through school. The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education began a probe late last month into the allegations as prosecutors dug into her mother’s past. If Chung’s diplomas are revoked, she will automatically be expelled from Ewha Womans University.

The president of Ewha resigned last month over mounting allegations that Chung’s professors gave her undeserved academic credits and grades even though she frequently missed class and submitted plagiarized reports. The Seoul education authority officially acknowledged Wednesday that Chung’s transgressions trace back to middle school. Chung allegedly graduated from Sunhwa Arts School in Gwangjin District, eastern Seoul, and Seoul Chungdam High School in Gangnam District, southern Seoul.

Chung’s middle school illegally marked Chung as present on at least 49 days when she was absent. For 10 of these days, she gave no notice. Her high school committed the same transgression for at least 20 days, usually by lying on papers that Chung was out competing in domestic dressage competitions. Chung’s immigration documents show she was mostly out of the country during those days.

Chungdam High School was also found to have given her top scores in Korean and physical education, despite the fact that she barely attended classes. Chung’s mother bribed her daughter’s PE teacher in the 10th grade with 300,000 won ($256), according to the interim report. Over the three years Chung was in high school, Choi gifted her PE teachers with lavish fruit baskets on three to four occasions, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education added.

Chung is currently in Germany on a leave of absence from Ewha.

Choi’s lawyer urged Koreans numerous times through the media to “understand” Chung’s circumstances and that she should not be involved in her mother’s investigation because she is “too young to bear the hardships of the times.”

BY PARK HYUNG-SOO, LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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