[Letter to the editor]Scrutinize Korean teachers, too
There have been several articles in Korean papers that stated the new E2 visa regulations were brought on by the arrest of Christopher Paul Neil. Kim Soe-jung (JoongAng Daily, “New visa rules may force some to return home,” Dec. 3), wrote, “Spurred by the arrest on child molestation charges of a Canadian who taught here, the Justice Ministry has announced that starting in less than two weeks foreigners who teach English will be required to provide their criminal record and undergo a medical checkup to renew or receive a visa.”
Christopher Paul Neil didn’t commit any crime in South Korea, however, he was guilty in the court of public opinion. But there have been countless cases where Korean teachers have abused students in hagwon as well as public schools. Should Korean teachers be held to some of the same standards as foreign teachers? I think they should be, for the sake of the students’ safety.
There was an abuse incident earlier this year in Jeonju, North Jeolla. A teacher used a bamboo stick to beat two students lying face down in the hallway. The school held a meeting of its personnel committee and decided to give the teacher in question a warning. In addition, the teacher apologized to the students who received the punishment and to all of the students in the class.
At the English Language Center in Sachon where I used to work, a Korean teacher would hit the students on the head extremely hard with a small wooden stick several times. The students would start to cry. She would also pinch the students below their eyes and they would begin crying. As a teacher, I found this behavior repulsive. Several teachers have witnessed such abuse of students in Korea. So, In my humble opinion, it would be in the interest of the students’ safety if Korean teachers also submitted to background checks.
Joel R. Seymour, United States
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