Graduation Gangstas

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February is graduation month in Korea. I’d like to think of graduation as a time of reduced stress and increased celebration for my students but apparently, not so in Korea these days. Check out this article from the Korea Times called “Graduation Mimics Gangster Initiation.” Graduation rituals seem more like fraternity hazing practices in the US but when you think about the age group of students being harassed I think the potential for psychological trauma is much higher. A professor, Lee Yung-hyeock, at the National Police University, admitted that:

“Korean citizens have released stress in somewhat aggressive ways. This is in line with the tradition. But problems occur when the degree of the behavior becomes brutal and violent.”


February is graduation month in Korea. I’d like to think of graduation as a time of reduced stress and increased celebration for my students but apparently, not so in Korea these days. Check out this article from the Korea Times called “Graduation Mimics Gangster Initiation.” Graduation rituals seem more like fraternity hazing practices in the US but when you think about the age group of students being harassed I think the potential for psychological trauma is much higher. A professor, Lee Yung-hyeock, at the National Police University, admitted that:

“Korean citizens have released stress in somewhat aggressive ways. This is in line with the tradition. But problems occur when the degree of the behavior becomes brutal and violent.”

Given the amount of pressure my elementary students seem to be under I can imagine the powder keg they must be living in by the time they reach middle and high school. I’m not sure if there is really a solution for graduation hazing events aside from increased parent and teacher supervision of the days surrounding the actual events.

Disclaimer: I’m sure that not every high school participates in such violent rituals, however, the media is having a field day with the ones that they have caught and perhaps providing a skewed view of societal practices as a whole.



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