Oh My News has discovered a daycare center in Itaewon that uses some highly questionable punishments — locking kids outside in the cold, naked. Oh My News was alerted by a foreigner who saw the abuse and took photos, so good on you for that, “K”.

This is currently one of the most-viewed stories on Naver. The major networks are going to air stories on it tonight.

Further Update: I don’t have time to work on them right now, but this link has the video of SBS’ report and this link is the Chosun Ilbo’s report of the situation so far with some netizen reaction.

Update: As commenter Race Traitor notes, Oh My News has reported that after their original article ran, the school called their office and admitted guilt. I’m appending their update to this post.

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There is shock over the punishment a daycare center in Seoul doled out to one child — forced to disrobe and be locked outside.

As a result of photos sent to Oh My News and the resulting investigation, it has been confirmed that the “ㅂ daycare center” in Itaewon made the child, who appears to be about five years old, remove his clothes before putting him outside and shutting the door, leaving him there.

It is particularly shocking that the daycare center in question, run for low-income families by the local Yongsan-gu government, left the child alone outside on the second floor fire escape where there was a danger of him falling.

Oh My News separately received two photos, which show a small boy standing on the second floor fire escape almost naked, huddling in the extreme cold.

According to data from weather reports, on the 25th, the day of the naked punishments, the temperature in Seoul ranged from -1.8℃ to -9.6℃.

In an interview with Oh My News on the 28th, K, a foreigner who witnessed the punishments and took the photos, testified that from December 29th to January 25th she saw the punishment carried out twice.

She said, “at about 10 in the morning on December 28th someone opened the door and put a completely naked little boy onto the veranda. The boy did not cry but he kept screaming and screaming, as if terribly frightened.”

“Then on the 25th the same thing happened to a little girl. Her pants were around her ankles.”

According to her testimony, the children were left outside for about 10 to 15 minutes. She said, “I heard the child’s cries and took the pictures.”

OhMyNews went directly to the daycare to confirm these facts, finding that K’s photographs are, in fact, of the daycare’s second floor fire escape. In the three-story building there is a retirement home on the first floor, with the daycare occupying the top two floors.

But the daycare center fully denies the allegations. The Yongsan-gu Office, which regulates the center, announced, “the daycare center has operated since 1995. It was established to serve low-income families.” The center is currently serving 44 children from low-income families.

Mr. Park, the owner, angrily said, “the 25th was our sports day, so nothing like that happened. This is an untrue rumor which should not have been spoken. Who says we used naked punishments? Somebody is speaking nonsense.”

Another employee at the daycare denied the allegations. “How could such a punishment have been used on such a terribly cold day? This isn’t the 19th century, I would feel sick just to hear of such a thing.”

“I could sue you for slander,” the employee said. After reproaching the reporter, the employee raged, “old people have no work to do, don’t you know we’re running a day care? Doesn’t Oh My News have anything better to do?”

A source at the Yongsan-gu Office said, “there have been no complaints about that center since its appointment by the government. Action can be taken after an investigation but there must be proof of the allegations.”

“For criminal punishment there must be either a complaint from parents or a third-party accusation. The ward office will typically issue a warning but if there are arrests then it can be shut down. In our jurisdiction there have been times when a child was hit and the teacher fired, but there has never been a case of an establishment being closed due to child abuse.”

This is OMN’s update. It sounds to me as though the owner has bullied the most junior staff member into taking the responsibility. If so I hope she is getting paid well for torpedoing her career to cover her boss’ ass.

The daycare center at the center of allegations of “naked punishments in cold winter” has belatedly confessed.

Until now the center had denied the allegations, calling them “nonsense”, but on the 29th they called Oh My News and said, “it happened in the course of corporal punishment. But it was wrong, there is nothing we can say.”

A childcare worker at the school who applied the punishment also said, “I did it rashly and quickly. It is my fault and I feel very responsible for it.”

L, the teacher, has been working at the daycare center for the past year. In a telephone interview with Oh My News L said, “it was something I did because I thought that the children must be brought up quickly and I am clearly at fault. I did something that a teacher in a daycare center should never do.”

“The child turns six this year but hit and hurt a friend, and I didn’t consider that ok. The child made me angry and in an instant I just got so angry and shut him outside on the fire escape.”

“Normally she is a very good child, but she made me so frustrated and I just did it so quickly. I am so sorry.”

“I didn’t make her take her clothes off, she did that herself. How could I have put a little girl out into the cold in just her underpants? I didn’t do it for very long.”

L added, “the responsibility is mine and I will put in my resignation. Though I cannot work with kids again I hope that the school will not be closed.”

Furthermore the owner of the school, a Mr. Park, and two others visited OhMyNews’ office and admitted that the naked punishments had occurred.

They said, “even though it’s difficult to look after kids it was unacceptable, and it seems the emotions of the teacher in charge erupted out of control. I have a large responsibility since I did not properly manage the teacher. Because of this clear mistake, I have accepted the offer of resignation.”

A city official in charge of childhood education saw Oh My News’ report and called, saying, “we will investigate and hand down a severe punishment.” The Yongsan-gu Office announced, “when the investigation finishes every potential action will be enforced.”

Foreigner Rescues Kids From Abusive Daycare in Itaewon