|Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education Superintendent Cho Hee-yeon bows during a media briefing at the office in Seoul, Monday, to apologize for the poor supervision of Seoul Chungdam High School, which fabricated the grades and attendance of Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of President Park Geun-hye's scandal-ridden confidant Choi Soon-sil. The office has decided to annul Chung's graduation. / Yonhap|
By Kim Rahn
It also asked the prosecution to investigate Chung, Choi and 10 others involved in the irregularities in managing Chung's attendance, tests and grades, including teachers and school board members at Chungdam High School.
The decision came about two weeks after the Ministry of Education ordered Ewha Womans University to cancel Chung's admissions due to the university's favors in admissions and grading.
In her third year at the high school in 2014, Chung, a dressage competitor, was absent for 141 days with the excuse that she participated in competitions or training overseas. She submitted related documents to prove her participation and the school acknowledged her absence.
"Of the documents, those for 105 days of absence were fabricated," said Cho Hee-yeon, superintendent of Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE), in a briefing, Monday.
The Korea Equestrian Federation falsely issued the documents although there was no training during the stated periods, he said.
For 36 days, Chung said ― and the school wrote ― that she took substitute programs to make up for the missed classes. "But there were no records to back up her being enrolled in such programs. There are no grounds to recognize that Chung completed her high school education," Cho said.
SMOE said it would request an investigation of Chung and Choi, the latter who allegedly led the irregularities by attempting to bribe the school principal and teachers, using abusive language and threatening teachers who disapproved of Chung's frequent absences. The investigation would look at 10 people from the high school and Sunhwa Arts School, Chung's middle school.
SMOE also said it would improve regulations on student athletes. It will limit the number of excused absences for training or competitions to up to one-third of the schooldays, as well as obliging schools to recognize such absences through a review by their own grading committees. Schools will also be allowed to accept documents to prove absences issued only by the education ministry or the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee.