Two Parents Lonely Struggle to Reveal the Truth
- A four-year to disclose school violence
In December 2009, an eighteen-year-old girl named Dageum Jung, who went on a field trip faced, died because she fell from the 12th floor of a resort. The police investigated and decided it was a suicide. However, based on the result of an autopsy requested by Dageum’s family, there was evidence of murder. Since then, Dageum’s parents started a struggle lasting 3 years 6 months. The police concluded that this case was just a death from a fall. However, as a consequence of Dageums parents’ inquest, they found that a drinking party and school violence occurred the day before the case.
#Alcohol and Bruises
The day before the field trip, Dageum bought four bottles of soju and two bottles of beer. During the Field study the next day, she drank with her roommates from midnight to dawn of the following day. At the time of death, her blood alcohol content was 0.07% which is relatively high.
The teachers stated that they checked the students’ rooms and banned the students from drinking. So, the prosecution accepted the schools testimony and came to the conclusion that the teachers were clear from suspicion about could not be accused ot dereliction of duty.
Meanwhile, Dageum was pronounced dead from the impact of the back of her head hitting the ground. However, her left eye was also bruised. Her mother Seo Haekyung stated that “When I saw her bruise, I perceived that there must had been assault involved.” After a second investigation by the police, they uncovered the truth. The four students that were in the same room as Dageum attacked her as a mob for 30 minutes while they were all drunk. Nevertheless, only one student who was deemed to be the ringleader was punished. The punishment was just a community service order.
#Effort of Dageum’s parents
Dageum’s parents thought that the police and the prosecution worked too slowly and their conclusions weren’t reliable. So they investigated the case themselves. Dageum’s father Jung Deaho even quit his work and started to investigate the case and he also protested alone in front of the Busan metropolitan city office of education. Mrs. Seo[nn2] , Dageum’s mom visited the high school that Dageum attended.
She was shocked by the remarks of Dageum’s friends. According to the students, Teachers who previously stated they checked students’ possessions actually drank with students. And after the case, they pressured the students to say nothing about that. When the students wrote statements, they could not write anything about the case because their teachers’ threatened disciplinary action for students if they write about the case. In addition, they monitored students explaining that the students are likely to be shocked about what happened and they needed support.
Mr. Jung and Mrs. Seo demanded compensation from the Busan metropolitan city office of education and the high school that Daeum went to based on the students’ testimonies. In February 2013, Supreme Court ruled that the Busan city office of education and the high school should pay 75 million won to Mr. Jung.
Mr. Jung said, “I was outraged by the dereliction of duty and the concealment of the school, police and prosecution about this school violence incident. What I really want is an apology about trying to conceal the case rather than revealing the truth and acknowledging mistakes were made.”
The people who uncovered the truth were not the police and not the prosecution. It was Dageum’s parents. They said, “School violence needs to be eradicated. We think when the case occurred, the school and governmental authority should have dealt with the case transparently and clearly.”
School violence cases in Korea have been a big problem for a long time now because suitable punishment for assailants is lacking and only the victim’s families make a considerable effort to uncover the truth. This case also couldn’t have become known without the victim’s parents’ effort. Suitable punishment and a prevention policy are required to protect against these terrible cases. Most of all, more awareness about school violence is needed.