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Religions to aid against bullying

Government appeals to leaders for combined effort in wake of teen suicides

Religions to aid against bullying
Education Minister Lee Ju-ho (left) visited Reverend Kim Young-ju (right) to call for a joint effort to end the bullying
Stephen Hong, Seoul

February 17, 2012

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The government has appealed to religious leaders for help in cracking down on school bullying following a series of shocking cases and a spate of recent suicides by teenagers. Their appeal came yesterday after police revealed fresh cases where several young students were buried alive as a form of torture, hung from a crane and had frogs put in their mouths. Education Minister Lee Ju-ho yesterday met with Reverend Kim Young-ju, secretary-general of the National Council of Churches in Korea, to ask for a joint effort to end the growing problem. The government had vowed to take stronger action against bullying last week following public outrage over the suicide of a middle school student in Daegu in December, who said in his suicide note he had been subjected to “water torture.” This was followed by a case last month when a 14-year-old boy who killed himself in Gwangju after three students beat him, robbed him and sent him threatening text messages. At the meeting yesterday Reverend Kim pledged his organization’s cooperation and said Lee should not hold back in setting up “fundamental countermeasures to root it out.” Lee said he will meet next week with Venerable Jaseung, chief executive of the Buddhist Jogye Order, and Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul. Local Catholic Church runs six elementary, 28 middle and 38 high schools. Following the meeting Reverend Kim told reporters that “mission schools have the same problem too.” He said it would be a good idea for religious leaders to meet to discuss how best to cooperate with the government and to advise parents on the issue as well. Related reports Religions unite against school bullies

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