Police are investigating a first-year teacher’s alleged sexual harassment of female students at a middle school in Busan.
The Yeonje Police Station in Busan said Thursday that it launched the investigation earlier this month after the 30-something male teacher’s wrongdoings were reported.
According to the police probe, the teacher had sent sexually harassing messages to a several female students. Through the messages, the teacher made inappropriate compliments about the female students’ body parts, police found.
It was also found that the teacher tried to take away a blanket that a female student victim used to cover her legs. Another student who was on the scene demanded that the teacher stop, but the teacher made offensive remarks referring to the female student victim‘s appearance.
Another student victim testified that the teacher bullied her by saying she had fat legs, and that she should not wear skirts. This victim also testified that the teacher told her he had slept with a person under the age of 19.
The teacher’s misconduct was internally reported, and the school opened an independent review into the allegations of sexual misconduct.
The school, however, concluded that the teacher’s conduct towards students was not in breach of its harassment policy.
Parents of student victims protested against the school’s decision, but the school’s principal dismissed the parents’ claim with thoughtless comments, saying that “the teacher is handsome, like an idol that kids love.” The principal added, “The teacher made such remarks as he was trying to get along well with them.“
Police later found that the teacher sexually harassed 10 more students, while the school hesitated to take action.
As the backlash grows against the school and the teacher, the school made belated reports to both police and the education office.
According to police, the teacher has been excluded from all classes. Police has also seized and searched the teacher’s house and asked its digital forensics team to collect digital evidence.
By Shim Woo-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org