September 05, 2018 13:02
A growing number of elementary schoolchildren are accused of attacking their teachers.
According to data from the Education Ministry, reported cases of abuse from elementary schoolkids rose from 58 in 2013 to 167 last year. Over the same time, cases of abuse of teachers by middle schoolers fell from 2,937 to 1,008 and by high schoolers from 2,567 to 1,391.
The number of reported physical attacks against teachers in elementary schools increased six-fold from only six to 36 over the five years, compared to 34 by high schoolers in 2017. Instances of verbal attacks also more than doubled from 19 to 40.
Violence between elementary schoolkids is also rising. A survey by the ministry of 3.99 million schoolchildren across the nation showed that 70 percent of victims of schoolyard bullying were in elementary school.
The proportion of elementary schoolkids who fell victim to bullying was 2.8 percent, significantly higher than in middle (0.7 percent) and high school (0.4 percent).
Experts attribute the rise to the increasing physical stature of kids and early exposure to violent and provocative contents on the Internet.
Lee Ho-joong at the Korean Federation of Teachers' Associations said, "Even elementary schoolkids use smartphones these days, and this exposes them to foul language and violence at a young age."
Jeon Soo-min at a law firm in Seoul said, "It is partly because the problems that used to be considered negligible offenses are increasingly being reported. In many cases involving elementary schoolkids, parents actively participate in disputes, which leads to more cases being reported than in middle and high schools."
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