| A 10th grader in Gyeongsan, North Gyeongsang Province, threw himself after being bullied at school. He left a suicide note saying he suffered physical violence, theft and verbal abuse while in junior high and wrote the names of his tormentors. The school he attended started a talk show in February last year under the auspices of Education, Science and Technology Minister Lee Ju-ho to raise awareness of school violence. Lee paid the visit the school since it was selected as a model for the prevention of school violence. The tragedy at this school might imply that the situations in other schools might be more severe than thought.
In the suicide note, the student said school violence cannot be prevented until surveillance cameras are installed in blind spots. His school had 19 TV cameras in the hallways and exterior of the four-story building, but had blind spots. According to a study by the Board of Audit and Inspection on TV cameras at 1,707 schools nationwide, 18.8 percent were installed in improper places and 96 percent had low picture quality. The internal government watchdog advised more cameras, improvement of picture quality, and hiring regular camera monitors.
In December 2011, a middle school student in Daegu who committed suicide left a suicide note describing horrible cases of school violence in words that young people could hardly use. In February last year, the government announced plans to mobilize ministries and devise measures to crack down on student gangs, transfer problematic students to other schools, and put violence cases on scholastic records. Such measures, however, failed to prevent the death of the Gyeongsan student. Educational authorities should reflect on why anti-school violence measures have been ineffective.
Adding more surveillance cameras is not the ultimate solution. School violence has reached a level that schools cannot cope with, and is related to complicated causes in helpless family, collapse of teacher authority and game addiction. This means emergency measures cannot be effective enough. No cure to an illness can be found if students fail to recognize that violence is a serious crime.
President Park Geun-hye called school violence, sexual violence, family violence and unsanitary food the four social evils. A country where school violence is prevalent cannot improve the people`s happiness as pledged by the president. The most urgent task in education is eradicating school violence, which has led to student deaths. The government needs to complement educational procedures that foster personality education and empathy.