Students of SOPA Speak Out against Corruption
Within the last few days, a video posted by students of the famous School of Performing Arts in Seoul has gone viral due to its exposure of illegalities happening within the school. In true performance arts fashion, the group passionately sings about their experiences and the wrongdoings forced upon them, including the likelihood of repercussions to follow the release of the video itself. The video is gaining significant traction online due to the rather famous reputation of the school, which has housed many famous idols like BTS’s Jungkook, Red Velvet’s Seulgi, EXO’s Kai, NCT’s Mark, and Weki Meki’s Doyeon, among many others.
The Laundry List of Accusations
A recent surveillance report of the school conducted by Congressman Park Yongjin revealed a surprising number of power abuses, including but not limited to: forcing a specific religion on students, inappropriate use of school funds, inappropriate shredding of data sheets, inappropriate use of funds provided by the local government, misuse of private bank accounts for school performances, fabrication of board meeting records, a charge of elder abuse upon a former chairperson of the board, and a charge of illegal action during the new student selection process. In addition to these formal accusations, the students in the video sing of possible sexual misconduct, abuse of the students via overworking conditions, the requirement of students to use personal funds for travel despite provided school funds, and a deliberate attempt to silence those speaking out.
So what do all of these things mean? To explain it more simply, the principal of the school has been forcing his religion upon students, which violates the freedom of religion doctrine present in the South Korean Constitution. On top of that, he was fabricating and hiding certain information to keep his secrets, even going so far as to abuse the elder that was the head of the board for a period of time. The funds given to the school, both by the government and through tuition, were misused and put toward private use rather than allocated to the students as is required, which is the textbook definition of embezzlement. All of these accusations could also be considered a form of child abuse, considering most, if not all, of the students that attend SOPA are underage.
The Importance of This Message
The students who have chosen to perform and record this video are making a profound impact on their peers online, with the video being translated into 14 different languages by volunteer translators in an effort to help the students spread their message worldwide. There is an overwhelming amount of support in the comments of the video, commending the students for coming forward despite the threats they have faced from the discipline committee. It is no easy task to speak out on injustice, especially when threatened by legal action from the other party.
Taking into account the ages of those suffering, it’s surely even more difficult for them, especially in Korean society, which places so much importance on respect for elders. Without this video going viral, it’s likely that the kids would have had trouble getting anything into the news or any support via the Korean media. The students have reached out to a global audience asking for help, and have begun to gain the traction they need to help foster change. This movement may prove that the power held by the people has the ability to fight injustice and change things for the better.