Korean Discipline Spawns Child Abuse Charge in New York

The head and a teacher of a crammer in Queens, New York targeting Korean-American children have been indicted for assaulting their young charges.

The women, from the Little Neck neighborhood of Queens and identified by their surnames Chea (34) and Park (33), were arrested last Wednesday for beating four children ages 9 to 11 with spiral notebooks or making them stand with books above their heads.

They were released on bail of US$1,000 and $5,000 the following day.

The New York Times noted that this kind of punishment is common in Korea but unacceptable in the U.S.

The women inflicted the punishments for "being bad, for misbehaving, for bad grades on tests or for being too loud," the paper quoted Kevin Ryan of the district attorney's office as saying.

Draconian discipline at the school also meant that children "had to urinate in their clothes because bathroom breaks were restricted to three times daily."

Running after-school tutoring, summer camps, extracurricular guidance and homestays, the school acts as the children's legal guardian under a contract with their parents. Some 50 to 60 children attend its programs.

The case started when a woman contracted to provide room and board for children at the academy reported suspicions of child abuse to police.

The academy denies the allegations and claims the homestay mother cooked them up because she had a grievance.

Allan Jennings, a spokesman for the academy, said the woman "made her allegations after the academy refused to pay her 10 months of fees in advance, and two months after she claimed she saw injuries on one of the boys."

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 11, 2014 10:58 KST