In case you were feeling optimistic about the state of the world on this lovely Friday afternoon, here's a friendly reminder that human beings have an infinite capacity for being awful in new and surprising ways: a substitute teacher in Seoul was just arrested for beating one of his students and masturbating in front of a crowd of schoolchildren.
Like a psychosexual nightmare version of Miss Trunchbull from Matilda, the substitute teacher (who is being referred to as "Mr. A" in reports) began to beat a male student after discovering that he'd been covertly listening to music on his headphones during class. The rest of the students fled the classroom; Mr. A responded by chasing them into the hallway, dropping his pants, and beginning to masturbate.
Mr. A originally lied to law enforcement officials, claiming that he "grasped the pants because they were falling down," but admitted to public indecency after a clip of him touching himself began to go viral on the internet. The clip, entitled "Angry Korean Teacher Masterbates [sic] at Students," now has over 60,000 views on Youtube, and the vast majority of the comments are racist jokes, "Gangam Style" references, or a sordid mix of the two. Because, again, everyone is awful.
Mr. A was dismissed on the day of his arrest.
According to Dong-A Ilbo, the fact that a clearly disturbed man could have been hired to teach children is not a freak outlier of the system:
The number of regular teachers remains the same with 393,009 in 2010 and 393,072 in 2012. Meanwhile, substitute teachers increased by 54.9 percent from 25,806 to 39,974 over the same period… Schools hire substitute teachers for lower labor costs to make up for regular teachers who are on a maternity leave or when demand occurs for teachers who are specialized in certain subjects. As a result, the number of substitute teachers has soared.
As part of the cost-cutting procedure, schools tend to employ a loose screening process. While most substitute teachers are entering the field with the best of intentions (the desire to educate and nuture the tender minds that comprise the nation's future, no thoughts whatsoever of using violence or sexually terrifying their students, etc.), this horrible case highlights how hugely important it is to do a thorough job of screening childhood educators.
Image via Tom Wang/Shutterstock.