Don’t Let Bullying Claim More Young Lives

Target: Yoon Suk Yeol, President of South Korea

Goal: Enhance anti-bullying initiatives in South Korean schools.

South Korea may grab international headlines for its contentious relationship with North Korea, but a hidden epidemic of hostility and violence is reportedly taking place in the nation’s schools. Bullying incidents have doubled in recent years, with the viciousness and intensity of these incidents increasing as well. A recent popular South Korean drama brought renewed attention to the issue by providing harrowing accounts based on true stories, including group bullying and the maiming of targeted students with weapons like hot hair curlers. Some high-profile legal cases have resulted as well, and the government came under pressure for reforms after an athlete and a social media personality apparently killed themselves because of cyber-bullying. Over half of bullying victims in South Korea’s schools have reported suicidal thoughts.

Recent laws for both workplaces and schools have attempted to address this epidemic, with minimal success. School violence prevention committees often fail to enforce the guidelines they put in place. For example, a prominent lawyer allegedly got the school transfer ordered for his son—an accused bully—rescinded. And the committees are often filled with individuals with no special legal training or expertise in these sensitive issues. Victims are still forced to stay in class alongside their abusers, and school records involving bullying are too often glossed over.

Critics have pled for a number of measures, from increased victim support to a zero-tolerance policy that mandates special education for both accused bullies and their parents. Sign the petition below to urge these needed reforms that can save lives.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Yoon,

You have ordered your education ministry to stop school violence and bullying immediately, but this deeply rooted crisis cannot be resolved with a quick and shallow solution. Serious reservations have been expressed about the integrity of school violence prevention committees and their often-challenged authority. Strengthening these panels with experts and with strict enforcement of their policies is an essential first step.

Moreover, mental health and education services need to be provided to both victims and perpetrators. Too many children are losing their lives to suicide, and too many children are damaging their futures with these histories of troubling violence. Victim support and counseling is vital, as are classes and programs that can help young people and their parents understand what drives and motivates these malicious acts.

Please take a more nuanced, comprehensive, and hands-on approach to an issue that will quite literally shape South Korea’s future.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Diego Grez 


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