Teacher Convicted for Bullying Mixed-Raced Student

Article from Yonhap News:

“Fool” “You’re half Korean so why can’t you eat Kimchi?” A teacher was convicted guilty for saying these harsh words

Teacher Blamed Student For Not Eating Kimchi2

An elementary school teacher was found guilty for saying inappropriate words that broke a student’s heart.

It is the first time that what the teacher said at school is accepted as emotional abuse and is convicted guilty. Thus, this verdict is expected to have a considerable influence on the educational environment from now on.

On the 12th of January, Ji Gyui-yeon, a judge of Suwon regional court, announced that a teacher was indicted without detention and fined 3 million won on the charge of violating child welfare law by saying something to harm a young student’s mental health.

Teacher “A” is a homeroom teacher of 13-year old students in Suwon. Lily, daughter of a Canadian father and a Korean mother, was in the class. Last year this teacher let the whole class say out loud, “Lily is a fool” three times for the reason that Lily’s many questions harmed the educational atmosphere.

In June, the teacher found out that Lily didn’t eat kimchi at school lunch. In the midst of other students, she blamed Lily saying “You’re half Korean so why can’t you eat kimchi? If you keep doing this, do you think your future mother-in-law will be happy?”

Besides, Teacher A asked students to raise their hands if they were going to private after-school institutes. And then she pointed at Lily and said, “You’re the one who screws her parents out of their money.”**

{ **literal translation: 등골을 빼먹다 – ‘to eat the backbone’ meaning when someone is taking as much as they can from others by exploiting them.}

Lily told her parents about how the teacher treated her. Lily’s parents reported the teacher to the police. Lily has since been receiving mental health treatment for an adjustment disorder.

The judge stated as reasoning for the guilty conviction that, “the fact is accepted that the teacher left this multicultural child heartbroken. This is a child society is supposed to embrace and to walk alongside.”

But the judge added, “[the teacher] didn’t seem to get a chance as an educator to prepare the right attitude toward multicultural children. And as the teacher promised to be responsible, I sentenced a fine appropriate for the crime.

The prosecution asked for 10 months of prison labor, a sentence that wouldn’t allow the teacher to return to work, lodged an appeal stating the judge assessed the case wrongfully. Once the fine penalty is confirmed, the teacher may remain in the profession.

Kwak Geum-ju, a professor of psychology at Seoul National University, estimated that, “Verbal bullying can harm much more seriously than physical violence, however, there is a lack of awareness that words themselves can constitute violence. I hope this judgement will be a way to inform people that they should not speak so bluntly.”

But Lily’s mother expressed her dissatisfaction to Yonhap News about the result of the trial saying, “I didn’t get a proper apology from the teacher. I know that anyone can make mistakes. However, if this is someone who can’t apologize for what they have done, I don’t think it’s right that they continue working as a teacher.”

Teacher “A” told YonhaP News, “At that time I thought I said it as a kind of joke. Looking back, I know now that children can’t handle those comments. I didn’t say it with any malice, and I think I gave my sincere apology to the kid and her parents.”

Comments from Naver:


Is it that hard to find a better teacher, so that teacher has to stay? We should cut out the rotten pieces immediately.


She let the whole class shout “Lily is an idiot”… Isn’t that bullying? Is her mind appropriate for being a teacher?


Aren’t we supposed to teach a humanistic style of education to elementary and kindergarten school teachers? According to how they teach, the life of their students can go many ways.


I will never understand why she acted like that.


She is just insane…


I read this case few months ago and now the judgement has been made. If she said those bullshit comments as a joke, regardless of her being guilty or not, not only is she unqualified as a teacher, but also a shit person.


I assume that a teacher was annoyed with a kid asking questions constantly during the class, so the kid got bullied…Is it okay to let her keep working as a teacher after giving her a 3 million won fine penalty? Is the judge crazy? At least the prosecution can think right.. Reveal the teacher’s real name! Suwon is my neighboring town, f***.


I have heard that there are a lot of people on the waiting list after passing the teacher’s exam. Fire that kind of shit teacher as there are plenty of people who can be substituted. How is it possible to call somebody a fool for asking lots of questions? To ask a lot of questions isn’t a current trend? An educational environment still remains that of the 1980s.


Teacher A, imagine your kid experienced the same thing like Lily. I don’t think that you’re mature like others your age and I doubt whether you’re qualified as a teacher. I figure you’re the one who became a teacher just by rote memorization, so step down from teaching. Well, if she had already known, she would have not said like that. She’s not even qualified to be an adult, even less so a teacher.


I cannot possibly understand the standards of weighing of an offense by the shit judges. If somebody swears to your parents, are you guys going to sentence them like that?


There are a lot of Koreans who can’t eat kimchi. Is she really encouraging that stereotype?


I don’t eat kimchi and I’m Korean, not mixed blood. To choose a teacher like that proves that the educational system has a problem.


Just fire that bitch and keep her from teaching.


An idiot who has personal disorder with a lack of personality is teaching students. A country that can’t recognize just one bad teacher.. If the Korean education is just like this, Korea is in the situation that nobody knows what will happen. In other words, Youngdong bridge full of fog.


It is surprising to see that there is a that kind of teacher at school. I wish there were a system in place for someone to monitor classes regularly, receive feedback from students and then educate problematic teachers or kick them out.


Look at that kimchi bitch working as teacher, tut tut.


It isn’t easy to be a teacher these days. Reveal the personal information of those kind of shit people and fire them.

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“Too many questions from Lily harmed the study atmosphere…” An educational culture that treats a student asking questions like a criminal.


The fine is too weak! If the money goes up to one hundred million, there won’t be any cases like this anymore.


Children, shout out a teacher is a fool. Shit sods can’t be teachers. Please fire the superintendent Lee Jae-jeong.

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  • NondescriptRG

    So she was fined 3000 bucks and allowed to go on with her enviable educational techniques? What a fine message to kids.

    • chucky3176

      It’s against labor laws in Korea to fire anyone (unless they have criminal records). The labor laws in Korea need to be revamped, but the unions (like the teacher’s unions) will go apeshit and turn it into a bloodbath revolution on the streets.

      • NondescriptRG

        Thanks for pointing out, I didn’t know that. I actually find strong unions to be a good thing, but this particular case clearly calls for at least some kind of suspension.

        • chucky3176

          Agreed. But the law and the government’s hands are tied on this one. They can’t fire this woman, unless she gets a jail time record. But to jail her for verbal assaults in my opinion is not only too harsh, but it could open up a whole can of worms. Who’s to say what verbal harassments could mean when it comes to teacher-student relations. The only right thing to do is to fire this woman, which means revamping the law. But that would require a passing of the bill in which would mean months if not years of squabble on the parliament floors. There’s already such a bill, to revamp the overprotective labour code in Korea, but they’re just talking about it now. Unfortunately, that won’t help this parent and this kid.

          • NondescriptRG

            By the way, isn’t this the reason for it to be harder and harder to land a long-term employment contract for newbies? (At least that’s what I deduce from all the pop culture references to labor environment in SK).

          • chucky3176

            Yeap. You’re getting the ideal. Now you know why employers are so reluctant to hire permanent workers. Hiring permanent workers means you can’t fire them easily. And you have to give them severance pay that could add up to being able to buy a house (if the employee has been with the company for many years) would be unheard of, in the west.
            It is very expensive and costly to hire permanent workers in South Korea with so little inflexibility to lay off and fire workers. Another reason why foreign companies reluctant to invest in South Korea with direct facility investments that need to hire workers (not only labor expensive, but you can’t lay them off when you need to, unless you’re about to go under). Under those conditions, which company in their right minds would hire permanent workers, when they can just hire contract temp workers who can be let go when the contract’s over?

            This is a serious social issue in Korea, which has been all too overlooked. They’re finally realizing where the problem lies, but both the labor and management and government cannot agree where the medium lies. Thus it will take years if not decades of infighting to sort all this out.

          • bigmamat

            I hardly think someone cannot be fired for poor performance. There must be procedures in place to do so. They are likely cumbersome and not used.

          • chucky3176

            You’d be surprised. Read how the courts are so strict that only criminal and negligence offences are allowed to be used to terminate employees.


            Of course, Korean companies can go around this strict law by another unofficial way. Many companies take away the desks, assign the employee menial tasks, strip them of title, and generally make the life miserable for the employees who will then quit voluntarily. That is the only way for employers to fire their workers. Layoffs can’t happen unless the company is in dire financial trouble.

          • bigmamat

            Funny how people can’t seem to ever find a good median. Worker protections are a good thing if not taken to the extreme.

          • NondescriptRG

            And here I lived thinking that SK is some kind of capitalist labor camp where salarypersons are abused for 60 hours a week in constant fear of being thrown out.

          • Yaminah Jamison

            C’mon… The same place where sexual harassment, tape and molestation doesn’t mean much…. I’m not surprised

  • chucky3176

    The answer is simple here. Don’t jail her for verbal assaults. Just find her and fire her for misconduct.

    • Sid Driver

      Sadly unless it’s something criminal I don’t think they will fire them…

  • Jamal Smith

    Haha And that child is half white.
    Imagine if she was Black or African. Teacher could beat and rape that kid and Koreans would celebrate her as national hero.

    • Jamal Smith

      I meant Brown (South Asia) or African (Black)

  • Yaminah Jamison

    It’s really messed up they can reveal the victim’s name, but not the teacher’s… Which can still mane it easy for someone to find out who the teacher said.

    The teacher is just an ignorant person in general. Reading chuck’s comment below, they seriously need to do something with their laws. Don’t think anyone who’s want that kinda teacher with their kids.

  • bigmamat

    This is so childish, and I think these kind of things happen a lot if what you read is true. Teachers participating in the psychological bullying of students.

  • zachary T

    “I know now that children can’t handle those comments.” You have got to be kidding me! I am not used to being around children but even I KNOW not to call children a fool, or say they are exploiting their parents by going to after school tutoring. This teacher is just a horrible person. I wonder if she dated some Canadian guy who dumped her and now taking it out on this girl?

    • Boris

      She said her ‘comments’ were a joke.

      You don’t get the whole class to join in as a ‘joke’.
      You don’t say that about someone and their parents as a ‘joke’.

      She needs re-education.

  • ytuque

    God protect the multicultural/multiracial kids in Korea from these savages!

  • oim

    shes jealous because she couldn’t find a white husband

    • Mahmet Tokarev (Tajik Pride)

      Actually most Koreans disapprove of race-mixing. Koreans historically value racial purity and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s an element of Korean culture.

      • Dondelion

        Backward neanderthal. And what IS racial purity? Care to tell us?

        • codfilet

          Take a little Chinese,take a little Mongol, take a little Japanese, mix well…voila! A modern Korean!

          • Xman2014

            Nope. Back in the ancient times, there were no Chinese/Japanese/Mongol/Korean. They had different tribes of Asiatic peoples, and nations rose and fell. The concept of nationality and ethnicity is a fairly recent concept.

          • Sillian

            Don’t forget to mention that those ‘Chinese’, ‘Mongolian’ and ‘Japanese’ can’t be pinned down as independent entities, either. When someone advocates homogeneity in society, 99% of the time, it’s not about some magical racial purity. They usually argue against promoting the idea of culturally and visually diverse or mosaiced people living together.

          • codfilet

            I guess my point was, when all those invaders passed through over the centuries, they didn’t just smile shyly at the local girls……

      • Guy Forget

        LOL says the non-korean. I always find it laughable when a non-korean thinks he’s an expert about koreans.

      • Nova_REMIX

        The modern Korean man or woman isn’t “pure.” Somewhere down the road, someone married someone who was not “purely Korean” no matter how far back you trace. There is no such thing as “pure Korean” anymore and the lines that people try to create (no matter what race) will continue to blur in the future.

        Interracial dating and marriage:

    • Guy Forget

      who wants a white husband anyways? they are the losers from their own countries who failed to find a girl, who failed to get a good job, who was basically rejected and the bottomfeeders of their society. but when they come over to asia where the majority of asians are still brainwashed and ignorant, where they all believe every white guy is tom cruise or david beckham, they get so much attention and they are surprised at how elevated they get compared to when they were back home and everybody knew what a douche he was. LOL. It’s the same thing happening with korean husbands going to the poorer SE asian countries taking ignorant innocent SE Asian wives because they are brainwashed into thinking that every korean guy is a kdrama star and has money and good looks just like the kdramas those poor SE Asian girls all watch in their huts and straw houses. Once a korean man comes to their country, they become kings even though back home, they were probably just some 40 year old ajusshi working on a farm and nobody here thinks highly of them. It’s a sad state of affairs that can only be cured by education and awareness. It’s so easy to pluck the innocent and ignorant. It’s been like this throughout human civilization, and will always be. There will always be a streamlined hierarchy of people who have more and know more to take advantage of the people who have less and know less.

      • moony

        Elliot Rodger?

      • Zappa Frank

        so Korea is the equivalent of SE asia for whites?

      • Sid Driver

        Tom Cruise or David Beckham??? Are you guys that lucky??? I always get compared to Bruce Willis who is like 30 years older then me… The first time I heard it, I was like… are they insulting me? After the 10th or so time I was like, okay thanks, I’ll roll with that. …Those damn lucky boys!

  • This is how I see it: Things like this happen from time to time in Japan, China, and Korea. So I wasn’t surprised to see this kind of shit happen in Asian countries. Canada? Very rare. America? Probably… but still rare.

    A Russo-Japanese aboriginal piece of cumbucket shit on a broken forum once told me Koreans and Chinese are all scum and that Japanese people are angels and gods. He claims that Japan doesn’t need multiculturalism and that Japan should kick out all foreigners because they have “no loyalty to the Emperor” and that they only think for themselves. Well guess what, faggot? If that were to happen, Japan won’t be able to communicate with foreigners at all! Their economy will literally crumble to Italy status! Fags these days are so full of holes, and I’m not referring to gay people, I’m referring to really, really, really dumb people that continue to think they’re right no matter how many times you correct them. Mind you, I’ve been trolling that asshole for a year now and he still thinks he’s right. LOL

    And I know, I’ve talked about that asshole a while back already, but I just found it distantly relative to this post.

    • Mahmet Tokarev (Tajik Pride)

      Actually Japan has already proven they don’t need multiculturalism. They have a thriving culture, and one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Compare multicultural USA to monocultural Japan. Japan has a 3% unemployment rate. USA’s is 6%. Japan also has faster wage growth. In addition, Japan has the most Michelin 5 star rated restaurants of all countries in the world, proving they don’t need immigrants for cultural success. That is why Japan has a bright future while USA/Europe multicultural/imperialist countries are declining and doomed.

      • David

        LMFAO I love it when they come out of the wood work.

  • ShootehAnon

    I wonder why the girl’s parents thought it was a good idea to get her educated in South Korea of all places. At least the classes would be more multicultural and (to a degree) less discriminatory in Canada.

    • mr.wiener

      Probably want her to be able to speak Korean to a reasonable standard.

      • David

        I have many students here in China whose parents put them in this Korean school so that they can continue to practice their Korean. Also, if they want to attend college in Korea, they must attend a Korean school (or a Korean international school that qualifies like ours) for the last two years of high school before they apply. We get a lot of kids who have attended international school for years in China but come to our school when they hit 11th grade for that reason. I think the bottom line is they live in Korea so have her attending a Korean public school (for now).

        • mr.wiener

          Sounds like they might want to rethink this plan.

    • Dondelion

      And why on earth SHOULDN’T they be able to send their children to a school in Korea? One of the parents is KOREAN and the child is termed a KOREAN by passport, and by centuries of ancestry. Good grief, if a Japanese child married a dutch person, would they not be able to send their child to the local school? If a Korean marries a French person, should they not be able to send their kid to the local school? Good grief, we don’t live in apartheid era south africa — or do we? Maybe we do judging from the NEANDERTHAL comments of Mahmet.
      And it may interest Mahmet that Koreans have a great deal of MONGOL ancestry, and mixed ancestry from the Koguryeo and Balhae period, so NO ONE on planet earth is PURE. What does PURE RACE mean anyway, scientifically? It’s absurd. Korea needs laws to protect multicultural children.

      • South Korea is known to have a shitty/corrupt education system. The fact that they chose S. Korea instead of Canada to send their kid to school is fucking stupid. Canada’s schools are some of the best in the world. 1 elementary public school and 2 different high schools I went to; all 3 are part of the top 10~20.

        As for Japan, it’s probably not any better unless you send your kid to a private high school.

        • Dondelion

          Joji, perhaps the husband had a good job in Korea? Perhaps the wife loved living here? Perhaps the child considered herself Korean? Perhaps they had in laws to look after? Korea is a first world, developed country — why should the parents have to run off and leave its shores when they have a KOREAN child. Schools should have anti prejudice laws in place, and cultural awareness programs in place so that these things do not happen. Prejudice starts from the top — if Korean teachers and admin had more understanding of multiracial issues, then the other Korean children would be enlightened too. These kinds of issues are easy to nip in the bud — but only if there is a WILL to do so from the Korean system and from Korean society at large, where rampant racism is currently the norm. That must change.

          • Anyone with a half a brain knows that Canadian education > Korean education. This is the reason why you see so many Koreans flooding Canadian schools these days. In my current highschool, you see more Koreans enrolling than Chinese last year (I think). And I’m talking about immigrant students, not “Canadian born ones” if you know what I mean.

            South Korea is based on the hierarchy system. Highly corrupt. Not only that, if what KoreaBang says is true, then you might as well be FUCKED if you can survive past highschool. I mean, Christ, they teach subjects that are like, what, 2 years ahead of them? WTF?

            Korea and China are shit countries with shit environments. Highly doubt they can “change.” In Japan? Probably not as bad, I don’t know too much about it. But from the recent scandals, it seems like Osaka’s education system is absolute shit.

        • Yaminah Jamison

          Well if they wanted her to get more thorough Korean knowledge, a Korean school would be for the best. Besides, they may move back to Canada eventually. So I don’t think it says necessarily stupid, but they probably had reasons why and may have future plans.

    • Sid Driver

      Maybe they just wanted to stay here in Korea. The wife could be close with her family and friends, the husband could have a good job here. I’ve had a few guy friends try to take their Korean girlfriends/wives back to their home countries but it’s much harder for them to live/work there. As it stands, it might be easier for a mixed couple to live and work in Korea.

  • mr.wiener

    A pity the judge can’t order the teacher to say sorry, like you really mean it.

    • ShootehAnon

      What’s the point of an apology? The damage’s already done. I’ve read a follow up article where her classmates harrassed her on their graduation day for reporting on the teacher’s actions. It’s scary how the other children became so used to such despicable treatment from their teacher that they cannot comprehend how wrong it is.

  • mai lin

    That kid must be ugly.

  • Goldie Wan Kenobi

    “Lily is a fool”….. that’s malice. That kid must have felt so powerless geez.

  • bultak23

    some teachers bully students because they have low self esteem.

  • kari

    The student was probably half white, which is why the court and korean commenters even give half a shit about this. If this student were half Southeast Asian, things would be different.

    • Katherine Traylor

      My thoughts exactly. : / I read the headline and was impressed, and then read that she was half-Canadian and thought “Oh, that’s why…”

    • Aquarius Jade

      It makes me wonder how they’ll handle that issue if the girl was Half SE Asian. I feel like they’ll try to sweep it under the rug.

  • goldengluvsk2

    Sadly, there are teachers like that everywhere that are ignorant or because theyre having a hard time or hate everything end up taking it on the students…
    even saying all that crap to an adult would hurt them so what made her think it was ok to say that to a kid? if the teacher was like that, i dont even wanna know what the classmates may have said to Lily… idk whats worse: this, cases like when that principal said the harassment a kid received was all “rough play” or when some room teachers and principals say they NEVER EVEER saw the kid that took his/her own life been bullied when kids spend like all day at school… Aside from the fine, they should make that psycho teacher recieve therapy too

  • Guy Forget

    I’m totally against bullying, for WHATEVER reasons, but I’m also wary of the fact that they highlight this issue since it’s about multi-racial kids. Do you think that there aren’t hundreds if not thousands of other korean teachers who have said some sort of words that could be categorized as verbal/emotional abuse, yet has nothing to do with race? If any of you know anything about Korean culture (especially, the traditional/old fashioned), you’ll know that teachers say all kinds of things to shame the students. If you were fat, they’d mock or joke about it from time to time as it was just a normal thing in the culture. If you had some kind of mental handicap, or you were from a poor family and everyone in the class knew it, or maybe you were a girl that looked like a boy, these kinds of things would all be talked about and mentioned throughout the year by some teachers who speak that way. While it’s not ok, at the same time, it was never anything really brought to light at the legal level where police would have be called in and a conviction was made. But now that it’s about a half-white/half-korean kid, the pro-multiculturalists want to do the exact same thing they have done in Western nations, and that is, bring hate crimes into everyday living. If you peep a word that insults, disrespects, or even hints at racism or xenophobic sentiments, then you could be imprisoned, fined, blacklisted and basically have your entire life ruined because you said something about race that was “off-color”. Who really knows the true motives behind this report? As some people said, the fact that it was a half white kid probably made it more important than if it were a half-filipino kid. How is this not a double standard racist attitude at play here also? Probably the father took this matter to his country’s embassy, and got this thing to the higher ups to bring shame to korea, unless it is reported and a severe example is made.

    What you will see happen as a result of these sort of reports and convictions to ALL or ANY koreans, is a ‘fear’ to speak out and say anything that might seem negative towards a mixed or non-korean. In other words, koreans will be seized by fear if they were to dare say anything bad about non-koreans in korea, because now they know their whole life could end and the damage of your reputation will be irreparable. This to me is wrong. It should never go this far. While I don’t condone anti “anything”, people should still have the right to say what they believe and what is actually “true” or “fact”. For example, if migrant workers are frauding the korean welfare system or overstaying their visas and staying illegally, if a Korean comes out to speak out about it, they might be branded as a racist. Why? They are speaking the truth. We need to make this LESS about race and MORE about the moral principles and values. Why do we only highlight this case because it was a mixed kid but never say anything about korean kids who get bullied or abused? It’s wrong for it to happen to ANYONE. It shouldn’t be more wrong because it happened to a mixed kid. In America and Europe, most people are gripped with racism fear, so they can’t speak out what they really feel, even if it is questionable. They just don’t want to risk ruining their lives by being convicted with a hate crime or being charged as a racist.

  • bananakrone

    pls no bully

  • WTF, my comment that had something to do with the words: “This is how I see it: Things like this happen from time to time in Japan, China, an…” was removed? The fuck man, censorship much? I’m pretty sure it was a constructive comment. Why was it removed, Moderators?

  • Sid Driver

    I think this article touches on another problem that I have noticed while living here in Korea. Employers will go to lengths before actually firing an employee. I have come to understand how ‘saving face’ and ‘losing face’ is so important here but sometimes things just can’t be fixed and it’s better to get rid of what’s causing the problem and welcome in some new change. I’ve discussed this a lot with my Korean friends (teachers and non-teachers) and they have mentioned that it is similar in their respective job fields and not just in education.

  • Andrew Stewart

    That’s very disappointing to read about. As a father of 3 young mixed children, I really hope they won’t experience such things in their schools. I’m afraid that this teacher was one of the old generation of Korean teachers. I hope my children get ‘fresher’ ones who are a little more open-minded.

  • JMP

    This is definite Emotional Abuse. Anytime words are said to a person that changes their whole demeanor is abuse. I know that Emotional Abuse Sufferer’s would rather be hit. At least that type of abuse eventually goes away. Being Emotionally Abused never goes away. That poor child will have the memories of these incidences for the rest of their lives. If it is bad enough they will need some extensive counseling. They have a very low self esteem. And that is from the bully! They view Emotional Abuse and Physical Abuse as the same type of abuse. The only difference is one you can see the other you can’t. To ever Emotional lay abuse a child is the worst thing anyone can ever do. The Bible views Physical and Emotional Abuse as ANTI-GOD! They are the cruelest of the cruel!

  • Smith_90125

    “Mixed race”? Are you saying her Canadian father is not a human being, or that her Korean mother is not a human being?

    There is only one “race” unless you’re a bigot.

  • KoreanPeninsula

    Stupid low class teacher. There so many dirty scumbags in Korea.

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