Jinju Police Station said it would begin a general investigation into the two deaths at Jinju Foreign High School in South Gyeongsang Province. The male students were recently killed in two separate incidents as a result of quarrels with other students.
One student so far has been arrested on charges of manslaughter while police are seeking an arrest warrant for another.
Investigators said they will look into allegations that the incidents were not accidental.
|Kim Mi-seon, head of the National Association of Parents for Cham Education’s Jinju branch, speaks at the group’s press conference held in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province, Tuesday. (Yonhap)|
The Education Ministry also said it would carry out a special inspection to see if the proper steps were taken to prevent further deaths after the first incident took place.
“Some of the details from the local education office’s report (on the incident) were not true, which led the ministry to believe an in-depth investigation was necessary,” a ministry official said.
The ministry also asked education officials across the country to step up countermeasures against school violence.
On Friday, a first-year student at the school died after he was beaten by a second-year student. The tragedy follows an incident on March 31 when a first-year student died as a result of a fistfight with another freshman.
After the incidents, South Gyeongsang Province Office of Education was embroiled in controversy over whether it deliberately tried to downplay its bullying problems. Despite the March incident, the education office did not inspect the school.
Suspicion was elevated further when it was reported that the school’s president was the wife of South Gyeongsang Province education chief Ko Yeong-jin. Some claimed that the school head participated in Ko’s campaign for the upcoming June election on Saturday, a day after the second incident had taken place.
Local civic group the National Association of Parents for Cham Education urged authorities to come up with measures to prevent school violence.
“The government has vowed to stop school violence. What is it doing now?” the group said at a press conference at Jinju City Hall. “We urge (authorities) to reprimand the principal and others responsible, and ask themselves if there have been any loopholes in managing local schools.”
Upon taking office, President Park Geun-hye defined school violence as one of four main “social evils” and announced a master plan for dealing with it in March.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)