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2017-12-01 16:37
The police are investigating an unusual case of school violence in which a student physically attacked a teacher.

A 17-year-old high school student was booked Wednesday for hitting a teacher in the face several times after he was frustrated with the teacher’s scolding for being late to school. Another teacher who witnessed the assault notified the police.

After the case was made known on social media, many people criticized the student, lamenting that teachers are losing their authority over students. Some people called on the school to expel the student.

The student’s violent behavior is inexcusable. But the case would not have made such a splash on the internet had the attacker been the teacher, not the student. In Korea, some people still hold onto the outdated notion it is okay for a teacher to hit a student as a way of disciplinary action.

The student should be punished according to the rules, but the authorities also need to look closely at what triggered such behavior rather than blaming the student entirely for this unfortunate case. The student told the police he was repeatedly reprimanded by the teacher for missing class or being late. The police should look into whether there was anything overly degrading about the teacher’s treatment of the student. The assault may have been provoked because of the teacher’s  attitude toward the student.

It is only in the last few years that Korean society has had any sort of concept of students’ rights. Some people have complained that promoting students’ rights has often led to teachers’ loss of authority, or “gyokwon,” with more students standing up to the teachers. Students’ attacks on teachers have also appeared more frequently in the news in recent years.

School violence, either by teachers or students, should never be tolerated. Before worrying over the loss of their authority, teachers ought to think more about whether they are treating their students in a civilized manner and giving each child in their class the respect they deserve. Students should also keep mind that teachers are to be revered.


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