Mr. Song’s Death: How Korean Students Drove Their Homeroom Teacher To His Demise

Content Warning: This article contains discussion of suicide.

A previous episode of Curious Stories Y shared the most tragic story behind the death of one man — and it all began with the typical South Korean middle school rule: Students must turn their phones in to their homeroom teachers until classes are all dismissed.

Picture unrelated

One day though, when “Student A” asked her homeroom teacher “Mr. Song” to excuse her cellphone use for science homework during study hall time, he decided to say yes — only to forget that he had said yes.

When Mr. Song came across Student A using her cellphone during study hall as promised, he scolded her for breaking the rule. Student A got extremely upset at Mr. Song for shaming her in front of the class that she raised her voice, cried, then stormed out of school. In the process, Mr. Song grabbed Student A by her arm — and that turned out to be the worst thing Mr. Song ever did.

Once storming out of study hall, Student A reached home — and to avoid getting into trouble with her parents for ditching study hall, she then told them that she had gotten verbally and sexually harassed by Mr. Song. Student A’s parents took action immediately by filing a case with the local police. Student A drafted up a fake statement, listing the things that Mr. Song had done to her and some other students. Hence, the next day, the authorities arrived at school and began questioning the students and Mr. Song.

He hit us and ran his hands on our bodies…

— Students

When Student A realized that things have gone way out of hand, with the police getting involved and all, she decided to come clean. She confessed that nothing had actually happened to her and the other students and that she didn’t want Mr. Song penalized. The police soon closed the case without further investigation.

Unfortunately, the Board of Education did not want to drop the case that easily. The board pursued investigating and, as it later explained in an interview, “followed a strict protocol for sexual harassment.” Even though by this point in time, Student A, her friends, and her parents all pled that Mr. Song did nothing wrong, the Board of Education went in to dig deeper and deeper.

This is how the manual says to handle this case.

— North Jeolla Province Board of Education

Student A and friends petitioned to make the Board of Education believe that Mr. Song was innocent. They confessed, “We said that Mr. Song touched us when in reality, he gave us a pat on the back for doing well in class.” The students begged, “Mr. Song has always been a wonderful teacher. Please let him come back to us. He only cares and wants the best for us and we are sorry for having troubled him this way.”

Student-written appeals to the Board of Education

Meanwhile, the Board of Education pressured Mr. Song to admit that he was at fault. At one point, the authorities commented that his students could be investigated and even penalized for malicious prosecution — that is, if he continued to deny his actions and the students turned out to be the ones who lied. Then Mr. Song, in an effort to protect his students, gave in and said that “There must have been a misunderstanding,” admitting to unintentionally harassing the students.

If everything on your statement is true, this means the students falsely accused you. That would be malicious prosecution, which is also a crime. You know they can be tried for that.

— North Jeolla Province Board of Education’s Student Rights Center

With that, the Board of Education immediately banned Mr. Song from the campus and put him on stand by to be transferred. The Korean press began covering the entire incident as a case of “sick-minded middle school teacher from rural Korea taking advantage of his female students” and netizens poured out malicious comments attacking Mr. Song.

  • “The audacity he has to think it’s unfair… You should be asking for forgiveness.”
  • “And he calls himself a teacher?”
  • “I wonder if he could react the same way if his children were involved.”
  • “This gives me the chills. What a horrible teacher.”
  • “How dare he call himself a teacher!”

Shortly after, the Board of Education sentenced Mr. Song to a period of probation. Completely discouraged by the fact that he had been framed as a criminal, Mr. Song ended up taking his own life in his own garage. Mr. Song’s family then tried suing the Board of Education, but the case was quickly shut down with the prosecution “finding no legitimate ground” to investigate the Board.

I found him here…

— Mrs. Song, Wife

This tragic incident of Mr. Song still remains a controversy in the North Jeolla Province where the school is located. The North Jeolla Board of Education has since been heavily criticized for handling the situation poorly. Korean netizens blame not only Student A’s irresponsible lie, but also the board’s unreasonably aggressive investigation to ultimately have caused Mr. Song’s death.

I can’t believe even at the worst of times, Mr. Song worried about the student being questioned for malicious prosecution… I hope those who falsely accused him pay for what they did.

— Korean Netizen

Source: Namu Wiki and THEQOO