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The new school year has just kicked off in Korea, and there's a new presence on school
playgrounds the police.
Hundreds of police have been dispatched to the nation's schools under a new initiative
to combat the growing problem of school violence and bullying among students.
But some wonder how effective it will be.
Connie Lee has more.
The nation's police are out in force at school yards across the country.
Police are patrolling every corner of the schools, inside and outside, and during recess,
they're there to offer their help.
"Most of you have cellphones.
You can contact us police officers anytime if you run into any problems, and if there
are issues or worries you can't talk about freely, you can even send us a text message."
681 officers have been dispatched to regularly patrol the schools under a newly created School
Part of their duties involve monitoring a 200-meter area around schools that are now
called "safety zones."
The officers will also lead educational programs on school violence and bullying something
that activists and experts say is necessary in Korean schools.
However, some students doubt whether the presence of the police officers will prevent the violence
and bullying that has been a growing problem at local schools nationwide in recent years.
"I don't think that having the police make periodic visits will make a huge difference.
They are not really DOING anything.
It's not like they will be by our sides at all times."
With this initiative still in the early stages of development, it's too early to tell if
the police presence will indeed prevent school violence.
However, school officials say that the new program is a step in the right direction,
as it could help raise awareness about violence in schools.
Connie Lee, Arirang News.