President Lee Myung-bak called for rooting out school violence and exercising greater parental oversight during a meeting with education groups after a series of bullied students killed themselves in recent months.
“Parents, schools and students should all unite in strength. It seems we haven’t paid attention to the problem of children so far.
I was shocked a lot (by the recent cases). We were oblivious when victimized students and their parents were suffering,” Lee said at the start of the meeting.
“We have to take this opportunity to root out the problem of school violence. We have to change the culture fundamentally.”
Lee also stressed the role of parents in preventing school violence.
A recent series of suicides by young students who had been bullied, including one by a middle-school student in Daegu, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, has sparked widespread anxiety over rampant violence and peer hazing in the country.
The Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations and other parents’ and education groups attended the meeting, but the liberal Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union boycotted it in protest of an investigation of its members suspected of violating the National Security Law.