Director's expression was rather scary.
Did something happen, sir?”
‘Of course, something happened…’
Kim Min-Jun silently mused.
But then, he began thinking that this matter was a bit too much for him to handle alone.
The dean was evaluated as someone rather capable, so wouldn't asking for his help be a smart thing to do? This matter wasn't exactly above-board, so keeping the number of participants as low as possible was crucial.
However, making allies when the gig got tough wasn't such a bad idea now, was it?
“Yes, Mister Principal?”
“You came at the right time.
Chief Director made an unreasonable demand, so I was worried about how to handle it, you see.”
Gong Ik-Hyeon was immediately intrigued.
“An unreasonable demand, sir?”
“Do you still remember the student named Kang Jin-Ho?”
“Isn't he that punk who assaulted the Chief Director's grandson, Choi Yeong-Su, not too long ago?”
The principal nodded.
“Yes, that's him.
Chief Director still seems dissatisfied with how the matter panned out, so he told me to get that student expelled regardless of the method.”
“Yes, that's what he wants.”
“But expelling that boy…
Isn't that going too far, sir?”
I told him that, too.”
Gong Ik-Hyeon stared at the principal in genuine surprise.
Didn't they already punish that kid with a suspension? And it was a week-long one too, which seemed a little too strong for what he had done.
That should have been the end of that saga, but the Chief Director was still grinding his ax even now?
'Damn, what a petty old man!' Gong Ik-Hyeon thought.
Letting your emotion dictate how a student was going to be punished was definitely a no-go zone.
The Chief Director was a corrupted man who knew when to draw the line, but his reasoning seemed to have gone for a walk since the matter involved his grandson.
Gong Ik-Hyeon sighed.
“I agree, sir.
This is too unreasonable.”
The principal heavily nodded.
“That's what I think, but the Chief Director just won't listen, and…
“Is it impossible to talk him down, sir?”
He's definitely not in the mood to listen. Uh-whew. What am I supposed to do about this?”
Gong Ik-Hyeon's voice grew a little louder.
“But Mister Principal… Expelling a student isn't something we can unilaterally decide, sir.
We need to report the reason for his expulsion to the Ministry of Education, after all.
When it's not a voluntary drop-out but an expulsion…
It's gonna be difficult, sir.”
“We can always use our discretion and make it look like a voluntary drop-out, so there's no issue in that regard.
No, the real problem is that there isn't any pretext.
I've heard that Kang Jin-Ho used to be a model student before that assault incident.
Is that right?”
“Yes, Mister Principal, he had been a model student indeed,” Gong Ik-Hyeon replied, briefly recalling how surprised he was after hearing about how Kang Jin-Ho had beaten Choi Yeong-Su up.
The 'Kang Jin-Ho' he knew was a boy who studied all the time and was definitely not the type to start a punch-up with another student.
Kim Min-Jun groaned, “How am I supposed to kick a student out like that?”
“Mmmm…” Gong Ik-Hyeon scratched the back of his head with a pained look on his face.
Even if it's doable, it's not a really nice thing to do, isn't it?”
“That's my sentiment as well.
Sure, that boy did hit the Chief Director's grandson, but that shouldn’t be enough to expel someone from the school, don't you agree?”
“But, sir…” Gong Ik-Hyeon opened his mouth to say something, only to close it again.
“But what, Teacher Gong?”
“If we forget about morality for a minute, there might be a way, sir.”
Kim Min-Jun sat up straight in his chair.
“But if you go through with this…
Not just the student, but even one of our teachers will be in danger, so…” Gong Ik-Hyeon was reluctant.
“Which teacher are you talking about?”
“It's Kang Jin-Ho's homeroom teacher, Kim Seong-Ju, sir.”
“Teacher Kim?” The principal tilted his head while recalling Kim Seong-Ju's face.
“Why? Had there been a problem I'm not aware of?”
Gong Ik-Hyeon shook his head.
“It's nothing, Mister Principal.
Forget you heard anything, sir.”
Kim Min-Jun pressed on with a slightly agitated voice.
“Teacher Gong! You told me there's a way, so why are you being coy like this now?!”
Despite the urging, though, Gong Ik-Hyeon remained quiet.
“Teacher Gong, please!”
Eventually, though, the dean of students looked as if he relented and spoke in a heavy voice, “Even if there's a way…
Sir, that teacher is a valued colleague and someone I view as my junior.
So, how can I…”
The principal slightly bit his lower lip.
'You sly raccoon…!'
Morals? Gong Ik-Hyeon wasn't the type to keep his mouth shut for things like that.
Kim Min-Jun usually worked fairly closely with the dean of students because they were similar types of people at heart. In fact, that was why he decided to come clean to him, too.
Right now, Gong Ik-Hyeon was asking for 'compensation' for the information.
Normally in situations like these, Kim Min-Jun would take it slow and negotiate, but he didn't have the leeway to do that this time.
Besides, if the information was only known to Gong Ik-Hyeon, the asking price would only go up with every passing minute.
In other words, the principal had to be decisive in making his next move.
“Uh-whew. Of course, I understand where you're coming from, Teacher Gong.
However, if you don't tell me what's what, how will we calm the Chief Director's ire?”
“But Mister Principal…”
“Judging from what you alluded to earlier, it seems that Teacher Kim Seong-Ju had made some kind of a mistake while covering for Student Kang Jin-Ho. So he had done something wrong, then. But you're pretending to be none the wiser and protecting him simply because he's your colleague.
Is that really the 'moral' way of handling this, Teacher Gong?”
The way Gong Ik-Hyeon stared at the principal changed subtly soon after that question.
Having seen through the meaning behind that gaze, Kim Min-Jun nodded and continued. “I'm sure that the Chief Director will reward you accordingly once this matter has been dealt with.
Even if he doesn't, I'll personally make sure to do so.”
You know that I'm not asking for a reward.”
I'm well aware.
Even so, you should at least get the minimum level of compensation, no?”
“Please remember your honor as an educator.
It's time to act, Teacher Gong.”
Gong Ik-Hyeon pretended to be in a dilemma before making a determined face and staring at the principal.
Kim Min-Jun slowly nodded in silence.
“If you're willing to go that far, sir…
Then, I don't have a choice.
All I can ask for is that you don't forget about what you said just now, sir.”
“No need to worry about that.”
Gong Ik-Hyeon's lips curled up into a satisfied grin.
“What happened was…”
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