School bullying often makes the headlines in the television news, a series has taken up the subject and has been a hit with the audience. The government has moved from promises to action, by deciding to decide to punish more severely the young aggressors.
For months, even years, the South Korean government has been promising to do more about school bullying. But the success of the series The Glory on Netflix forced the executive to get even more involved. The South Korean Ministry of Education has therefore decided to strike hard by creating, in a way, a criminal record that follows bullying students.
The 16-episode series was the most watched on Netflix in South Korea for two weeks in March. It is also a success in 90 other countries. The Glory tells the story of a young woman who is harassed and abused throughout her schooling. The school administration does nothing, the police do not want to intervene and her parents are too busy to take care of her. The young victim suffers alone, but she will then take revenge on her bullies once she becomes an adult.
Many young South Koreans identified completely with this victim and his loneliness. Cases of school bullying have exploded in recent years in South Korea. Last year, the Ministry of Education identified 62,000, twice as many as five years ago.
Make it a selection criterion for university
Today, this issue is taken very seriously by the conservative President Yoon Suk-yeol and his Prime Minister. Their idea is to create a kind of criminal record of violence, which would follow the harasser for several years. Thus, the government wants acts of harassment now to be systematically reported and taken into account by universities when they select their students after high school.
Because in South Korea, the competition is extremely strong at the time of what is called the Suneung : a standardized exam, in November, which determines your ability to access the best universities, where large groups systematically come to recruit their employees. A good grade and it’s a guaranteed career. A bad mark and you will never make up your delay.
From 2026, universities will no longer only look at these grades and the assessments of professors. They will also have to take into account the acts of school harassment committed by the candidates, even if they have good grades in the Suneung. Colleges and high schools will keep records of this violence for at least four years and they will communicate them to universities.
Some of the elected representatives of the majority would like to go further, and that these acts of violence are also communicated to the future employers of the harassers. During a job interview, human resources would thus see this candidate’s past as a stalker. But for the moment, this idea has not been adopted by the government.