January 09, 2012 14:03
Bullying is most serious among middle school children but has also become a significant problem in primary and secondary schools, according to a poll.
The Chosun Ilbo and the Korean Federation of Teachers' Associations questioned 126 teachers in the same number of schools nationwide in late December. Of an estimated 290,000 school children who are bullied across the country, 110,000 or 38 percent are in middle school, followed by 100,000 or 34 percent in elementary school and 80,000 or 28 percent in high school.
Of the total of 7,823 cases of bullying reported in 2010, a whopping 5,376 or 68.7 percent took place in middle schools. Middle school children also topped the list at 49.9 percent or 719 of 1,440 children who had counseling at school violence prevention centers the same year.
Bullying is not only most common but also most violent and persistent in middle school, experts said.
"It's relatively hard for middle school children to control themselves because they grow rapidly physically and believe they've grown up," said Prof. Cho Heung-sik of Seoul National University. "Education authorities should realize how serious bullying among middle school children is, and deal with the issue through more careful and systematic guidance of children."
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