By Bae Ji-sook
Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education is investigating allegations that a high school teacher hit a student for a comment regarding the candlelit protests against American beef imports.
According to the office, the teacher at a vocational high school in Seoul identified only by the name Lee, became furious when a student disagreed his idea that people do not have to oppose American beef imports. Lee reportedly said, ``There are 12,000 people dying of traffic accidents a year and the risk of dying from mad cow disease is far less than that. We should care more about the economic benefits we could get from the imports.''
When the student, identified as Jeong, refuted, asking, ``how could you compare the two in the same line?'' Lee ordered him to kneel down, before striking his thigh twice with a rod.
After that, Lee ordered the student to never attend his international trade class again and to transfer to another school. Moreover, one of Jeong's friends said that Lee told other classmates to take pictures of the punishment.
The office spokesman said Lee was a sincere teacher, a member of the progressive Korean Teachers and Education Workers' Union, and had never caused trouble of any kind before.
The school headmaster has already issued a disciplinary warning to the teacher for wrongly punishing the student in front of other students, according to the education office.
One of his classmates captured the scene of on his cell phone and posted the video clip on the Internet.
The teachers' union plans to strip the teacher of his membership.