Getting Help (1)
“But sir! Please listen to me, Chief Director!” Kim Min-Jun, the principal of Dongmyeong High, was currently making a stiff expression while his eyes were fixed on the Chief Director of the Dongmyeong Foundation.
Chief Director Choi Myeong-Gil was in charge of the Dongmyeong Foundation, a well-known education foundation in the country.
However, his reputation among his peers wasn't so good. Moreover, he had even committed a few frauds here and there to enrich himself.
Despite his various faults, however, Choi Myeong-Gil relied on his sharp discernment to quickly analyze situations, so he was able to run the foundation without causing too many issues.
Simply put, he was corrupt, but not corrupt enough to get him in serious trouble.
One of the beliefs engraved in his heart was that having money and power would paint a target on his back, so he needed to be wary at all times.
Rigorously sticking to such simple but effective beliefs allowed Choi Myeong-Gil to run Dongmyeong without too much fuss and become a rather wealthy man in the process.
Kim Min-Jun had been spectating all this for the past several decades.
That was why he could see it.
He could see that the 'Choi Myeong-Gil' sitting before his eyes was not the same person he used to know.
The principal strongly voiced his opinion.
“Chief Director, what you're asking for is going too far, sir.”
“Going too far?!”
Kim Min-Jun nodded assertively.
“You can't simply expel a student without a good reason, sir.
If the student chooses to lodge a complaint to the board of schools, or worse, the Ministry of Education, this whole thing will blow up in our faces, sir.
And if the media gets hold of this news, the Dongmyeong Foundation you worked so hard to build could crumble down to nothing, sir!”
Choi Myeong-Gil's sharp glare bore through Kim Min-Jun.
“It could crumble, you say?!”
“Chief Director! You must calm down, sir!”
“Did you just tell me to calm down?! Is that what you should be saying to me right now?!”
Choi Myeong-Gil roared.
“…!” Kim Min-Jun could only groan.
Choi Myeong-Gil's grandson being stuck in the middle of this mess caused the old man to get too agitated, and he obviously wasn't being rational right now.
Kim Min-Jun tried to talk sense to his boss one more time.
There is no evidence that the student in question, Kang Jin-Ho, has harmed your grandson.”
“That's not important to me!”
“What do you mean by that, sir?”
“The important point is that that punk was the trigger! My grandson would've been fine if it wasn't for that bastard!”
That logic wasn't entirely wrong, however, Kang Jin-Ho had already been punished for that matter in the form of a week-long suspension.
Besides, wasn't that suspension also unilaterally decided by the Chief Director himself?
“Sir, that student has already received his punishment regarding that incident.
Trying to punish him any further will be difficult, sir.”
Choi Myeong-Gil snorted.
“I never said to punish him for that matter.”
“I don't care what it takes, as long as that bastard is expelled. I also mean to do that.”
Kim Min-Jun could only stare in puzzlement.
Just what was this old man even talking about? “Chief Director?”
Choi Myeong-Gil blew his top.
“How can you be this dense?! It doesn't have to be that specific incident! I'm telling you to find some dirt on the kid! He must've caused other problems in the school, no?!”
Before this incident, Kang Jin-Ho has always been a model student.
His academic performance is within the top ten of the entire school, and he hasn't caused any notable problems so far…”
“In that case, create one!”
Choi Myeong-Gil dismissively waved his hand as if he had enough.
“I do not wish to repeat myself.
Your job is simple—get that Kang Jin-Ho out of this school.
You'll stop at nothing to kick that bastard out of my school!”
Kim Min-Jun momentarily forgot what to say at that near impossible order.
“Do you understand, Principal Kim?”
“Chief Director, this is…”
Choi Myeong-Gil's sharp glare stabbed into Kim Min-Jun.
“What is it? Are you thinking of going against my order?”
The principal dearly wanted to say ‘yes,’ but he couldn't.
He simply couldn't do it.
“Then, I'll leave it up to you.
I'm sure you'll do a fine job.” Choi Myeong-Gil grunted while getting up, then he left the principal's office.
Kim Min-Jun also got up and bowed his head at the Chief Director’s back.
“Take care, sir.”
The office door was slammed shut.
“Uh-whew…” Kim Min-Jun plopped down on his chair.
“What am I even supposed to do here…”
The Chief Director's demand was unreasonable.
No, wait—rather than 'demand,’ it was far closer to an 'order' at this stage.
Regardless of what it was, though, the fact that it was unreasonable didn't change.
Kim Min-Jun would have decisively said no to such a demand if it had been made by some other random person.
But it was not possible to say no to Choi Myeong-Gil. But it wasn’t because the old man was the Chief Director while Kim Min-Jun was the principal, though.
Kim Min-Jun didn't have long left in his tenure.
And, despite Dongmyeong High being a private school, Choi Myeong-Gil was still just another educator at the end of the day.
Finally, a principal wasn't really obligated to follow the Chief Director’s every order.
Even so, Kim Min-Jun still couldn't refuse the old man's demand…
Because he had received far too much from Choi Myeong-Gil until now.
Kim Min-Jun was responsible for looking the other way while the Chief Director slyly siphoned off the foundation's funds.
His rewards had always been about feasting on the 'abundant' bread crumbs falling off all that pilfering.
Of course, it wasn't simply 'looking away,’ either.
Kim Min-Jun was even involved in cooking the books and falsifying various documents, among many other corrupted activities.
No wonder the 'bread crumbs' had been quite plentiful, allowing him to enjoy a well-off lifestyle until now.
For Kim Min-Jun to refuse Choi Myeong-Gil's demands was basically the same as declaring that he had given up on all those sweet, sweet deals.
There was also another thing to consider here.
Choi Myeong-Gil also knew of Kim Min-Jun's other weakness besides the money.
And that was why the old man could afford to act so shamelessly in front of the principal.
“Uh-whew…” Kim Min-Jun helplessly shook his head.
Someone suddenly knocked on the door just then.
“Come in,” said the principal.
The door opened, and the dean of students, otherwise known as Bloody Mop by every student in the school, Gong Ik-Hyeon, stepped inside the office.
Did Chief Director stop by your office just now?”
Kim Min-Jun nodded.
“Yes, he did.”
“I noticed that Chief 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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