Accountability at KTUThe conduct of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union has been called into question in the wake of the sexual assault scandal in the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. It has been revealed that leaders of the teachers’ organization were involved in an attempt to cover up the case. People on the victim’s side testified that the organization’s president and high-ranking officials pressured the victim to hide the scandal. The former president of the teachers’ union was even named as one who tried to persuade the victim not to publicize the case. The teachers’ union should have the highest moral values. It is hard to believe the union knew that a member was sexually assaulted but tried to conceal it. One wonders if the union believes it can ignore individual rights to protect the whole organization.
It is not too late for the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union to make things right. The organization must not try to sweep the case under the carpet, saying it took place under the union’s previous executive body. The organization formed its own investigative group but ended the investigation after only one day. This can be seen as nothing less than a decision to let the case die without finding out who is responsible. The union was perhaps afraid that its reputation would be damaged if the truth was revealed. This is entirely different from what the union used to do; whenever sexual harassment or assault took place in schools, the union demanded that the people responsible be fired.
The primary duty of members of a teachers’ organization is to teach students, not to take part in a labor union. Under current circumstances, however, it is difficult to trust that teachers will offer a good education to students. The teachers’ union must find out the truth as soon as possible and fire all the people involved in the scandal. Only then can the members of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union remain behind classroom podiums.