By Kang Shin-who
Sexual harassment, bullying and other incidents of violence are increasing at schools, but most of the assaulters only receive minor punishment.
A total of 5,605 cases of violence among students at elementary and secondary schools were reported last year, according to data submitted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to Rep. Park Young-ah of the Grand National Party, Monday.
The number of offending students stood at 14,605, with male students accounting for 9,644 or 66 percent of the total.
Most offenders received light punishments — 5,731 or 39.2 percent were made to do school services; 2,758 or 18.8 percent, community services; and 947 or 6.4 percent ordered to make a written apology to their victims.
Only 14.7 percent of the offending students were suspended or transferred, while 128 students or 0.8 percent were expelled.
“Schools have difficulty preventing school violence, that’s why disciplinary measures are important. However, many of the offenders end up receiving minor punishments, while victims have not been cared for sufficiently,” Park said. “We need some institutional system to hold schools accountable for school violence.”
By types of violence, assaults topped with 3,509 cases or 62.6 percent. Extorting money came next with 1,157 cases, followed by bodily harm with 240, and bullying with 149. Sexual harassment cases accounted for 110.
By regions, Gyeonggi Province saw the largest amount of violence with 1,307 cases; followed by Seoul with 821; Busan, 548; Gwangju, 537; Daegu, 437; Incheon, 256; and South Jeolla Province, 247.