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(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on Feb. 17)

Editorials from Korean dailies 07:14 February 17, 2021

Ending school and sports violence

Twin sisters Lee Jae-young and Lee Da-young, star volleyball players of the Heungkuk Life Insurance Pink Spiders, were suspended from their league club as well as the national volleyball team. When they can return to the court is uncertain. The two have been accused of bullying and ganging up on teammates during their middle school days.

Male pro volleyball players Song Myung-geun and Sim Kyoung-sub of the OK Financial Group OKman also were pinpointed by their former schoolmates for bullying and assault during their middle school days. Idol singers and a popular candidate in a TV signing audition program also had to withdraw themselves for school violence history.

Their fall came after the victims came forward through social media. Social media has been acting as a channel for victims to expose the ugly history of their predators. Violence and harsh disciplining at schools and sports clubs can no longer be tolerated. The chorus of criticism toward assailants regardless of their popularity underscores the change in the times.

Violence in the sports community has been longstanding. Coaches and seniors beat players in the name of discipline. Promising athletes domineer over others. Those trained with beatings become equally aggressive when they become seniors or coaches.

Although human rights awareness has improved noticeably, there are still many victims. According to a survey on 50,000 student athletes by the National Human Rights Commission last year, 14.7 percent said they had been physically abused. The rate would be much higher in reality. Many could be both the victim and assailant.

Harsh discipline in organizations used to be glorified. There are few reports on use of physical force and violence in military camps. But military-style hierarchical disciplining still exists in sports community. School sports could be the most outdated culture.

Bullying and beating another is an inhumane act. Teachers and trainers have the duty to educate students. Violence in sports organizations cannot be condoned in any way. It only leaves lasting injury on the soul and body of the victim. It also is a disgrace to sportsmanship. Sports trainers and leaders must take the initiative to end the evil tradition.

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