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“I laid him on the bed and stepped on him”…Son of ‘bully’ Lee Dong-gwan transferred to prestigious university without a degree

As President Yoon Seok-yeol, who dismissed Communications Commissioner Han Sang-hyuk with two months left in his term, is said to have effectively appointed Lee Dong-kwan, Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs, as the new Communications Commissioner, his son’s past bullying case has become controversial again.

The allegation is that Lee’s son, who attended Seoul Hanago, an autonomous criminal justice school, was a “perpetrator of school violence,” but was able to enroll in a prestigious university because the school transferred him without opening a school violence committee.

In 2015, the National Assembly National Audit Committee raised suspicions that the special adviser’s son’s school violence was not handled according to the normal procedures set by law, and that there were even suspicions of entrance examination irregularities.

Son of Lee Dong-kwan, who was transferred to a prestigious university with a rolling admissions system…”Failed if school violence was listed”

examined the minutes of the National Assembly Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee’s national audit of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education held on September 21, 2015, and found that lawmakers focused on the Hanago school violence case of Lee Dong-kwan’s son. At the time, Hanago concluded the case by transferring the special adviser’s son without opening the case. The special assistant’s son entered Hanago in March 2011 and transferred in May 2012.

During the National Audit, Representative Jung Jin-hoo (Justice Party) said, “This student (Lee’s son) should have been referred to the school violence committee according to the law, and the result should have been recorded unconditionally in the student directory.” “Since he transferred without going through the school violence committee, the student’s school violence case is blank,” he pointed out. “That’s right,” said Cho Hee-yeon, Seoul’s superintendent of education.

At the time, the special assistant’s son had been accepted to a prestigious university in the Seoul area through a rolling admissions system. “The power was avoiding the law and committing these sneaky admissions frauds,” Chung criticized.

Hanago, a university admissions officer who appeared as a witness at the National Audit Office, had a similar opinion. “I probably would have rejected the student if there was any school violence listed in the student record,” she said.

Representative Kim Tae-yeon (Democratic Party of Korea) also pointed out, “If Hanago concealed this (Lee’s son’s bullying), and if they didn’t list it in the student section, it can only be seen as a de facto admission fraud.” To this, Cho replied, “It’s possible, but I think we need to investigate.”

Minutes of a national audit meeting held by the National Assembly’s Committee on Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism on September 21, 2015.
National Assembly

According to the statements of the victimized students, the level of school violence perpetrated by Lee’s son was at a serious level. The statements of two victimized students, which were also disclosed in the National Assembly’s National Audit and the Seoul City Council’s special investigation, are as follows.

“After learning boxing and gym in a one-on-two format, he struck my arms and sides several times, and stepped on me while I was lying on the bed, claiming that he was practicing.”
“He hits me two or three times a week for no reason, and I even got hit in the face at a restaurant.”
“When ○○ avoided him because he was distracting her from studying, he made her hit her head on the desk 300 times.”
“His friend (the mobile worker’s son) asked me to hit ××, so I hit him lightly, but he said I hit him weakly, so I hit him in the forearm with my fist instead.”
“Each act of violence usually lasts between one and five minutes. It feels bad to be hit without knowing what you did wrong.”

No conference held despite serious waterboarding… Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education accuses vice principal

After the National Assembly’s national audit, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education conducted a special audit of the incident and released the results on November 13, 2015, two months later.

“According to Article 13 (Composition and Operation of Autonomous Committees) of the Act on Prevention and Countermeasures against School Violence, the chairperson of the Hanago School Violence Committee must convene a school violence committee when a school violence incident is reported or reported to him, but in April 2012, he did not hold a school violence committee and treated the incident as a homeroom termination case먹튀검증,” the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education noted.

“Hanago gave the reason that ‘there was reconciliation between the perpetrator and the victim, and the victim did not want to be punished,’ but it should not be decided through consultation among faculty and staff.”

As a result of the audit, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education demanded that the vice principal in charge of the bullying committee be warned for arbitrarily skipping the process, despite the fact that a bullying committee must be convened in accordance with legal procedures in the event of a bullying incident, and filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office on the 15th of the same month for “obstruction of business”.

Although there is no evidence that the special assistant actively prevented the committee from holding the meeting or tried to cover up the incident, the complaint alleged that the vice principal of Hanago “recognized that the perpetrator was a child of a high-ranking member of society” and took a passive response. By February 2012, when the abuse of his son came to light, Lee was considered a key figure in the Lee Myung-bak administration.

But the prosecutors investigating the case cleared Hanago of any wrongdoing.

“There was no disciplinary action… Worse than the case of Chung Soon-sin’s son”

Kim Seung-yoo, chairman of Hana Academy, answers questions from lawmakers as he appears as a witness at the National Audit of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee’s hearing on Sept. 21, 2019, at the National Assembly.
ⓒ Nam So-yeon

In response to this situation of bullying and Hanago’s response, a former official of the National Campaign for Private School Law Reform (a current high school teacher) told , “The son of Chung Soon-shin, the former head of the National Bureau of Investigation, was at least punished by the school and was listed in the student directory, but the son of Lee Dong-kwan, a special assistant to the director, was only transferred to another school and did not receive any punishment.” “In this regard, Hanago’s response to bullying at the time is a more serious problem,” he said.

“We need to look into why Hanago responded so lukewarmly,” he said.

Currently, the company has not commented on the bullying incident and the suspicion of a cover-up. called and texted former Hanago chairman Kim Seung-yu and special assistant Lee Dong-kwan on Jan. 1 to get their opinions on Hanago’s response to bullying at the time, but did not hear back.

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