[EDITORIALS]Holding students hostageParents refusing to send their children to school ― as is happening now in places like Buan, and has taken place elsewhere in the past ― is a terrible trend. As a means of struggle against national projects, or the construction of unpopular facilities, some parents taking part in group actions have discouraged their children from attending school. Such behavior must be stopped immediately and should not be repeated.
School boycotts are being used to oppose construction of a nuclear power center, relocation of a school for the blind, construction of welfare facilities, including one for homeless people, and installation of an incinerator to burn medical trash. We do not find any justification for these parents to keep their children from attending school. This is an unacceptable means of struggle that stinks of selfishness and regional egotism.
Residents claim that keeping their children out of school is necessary to prevent their children from suffering from a bad environment in the future, since the decision to install a hated and unwanted facility in the neighborhood has been made without considering the educational environment. We question, however, whether it is right to refuse to send children to school as a means of problem solving. Holding students hostage to a struggle deprives them of their right to attend classes. It also means abandoning the parents’ right to educate their children. What will children learn from parents who demonstrate against the construction of an incinerator in the neighborhood? Do those parents want their children grow up to be narrow-minded and lacking in community consciousness ― people who want to keep their distance from the handicapped and cannot tolerate hated and unwanted facilities in the neighborhood?
The Buan parents’ decision not to send their children to school must be reversed immediately. Prolonged absence from classes will only damage the students. Even during the Korean War, classes were attended regularly. Trying to find a solution to local problems by sacrificing children is an anachronistic way of thinking. It is not acceptable.