Rotten behavior, rotten unionA few days ago an awful story hit the mass media about three female university education students out for on-the-job training who were sexually harassed by teachers.
The male attackers - three teachers - arranged a dinner meeting, had each of the female students sit next to one of the men, and forced them to drink alcohol.
The teachers even threatened to give poor grades to the students who expressed reluctance to join them for karaoke at a noraebang.
At the noraebang, the teachers forced the students to dance with them and groped them.
The young women had no choice; they needed good grades on their teaching practice.
It is despicable for these teachers to abuse their power as evaluators to harass these young women.
Their shameful behavior could hurt the reputations of the majority of the country’s well-qualified teachers.
What is even more shocking is that three of the four attackers were members of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union, a hard-line educator’ association that claims to prioritize “truthful education.”
Isn’t the goal of these teachers supposed to be to instill character and respect for human dignity in their students instead of forcing them to prepare all day for tests to get into good schools?
One despairs to consider how these three teachers thought they could provide qualified education when they are hardly equipped with the barest of ethics.
Undoubtedly, the impact of this crime on the credibility of teachers who say they are devoted to true education will be enormous.
It is also hard to ignore the fact that these teachers scrambled to resign from the teachers’ association, “for fear of dealing a blow to the organization,” right after their criminal behavior was exposed.
When a high-ranking member of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, one of Korea’s two biggest umbrella labor unions, attempted to sexually assault a teacher who was a member of the hard-line teachers’ union, KTU executives had attempted a cover-up, citing the possible harm a scandal could do to the union’s reputation.
The teachers’ union, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is rife with selfishness, placing the interests of the organization before any other values. By itself, this is enough to explain why the number of members has fallen below 70,000, from a membership that was close to 100,000 in the union’s heyday. The union will have to cleanse itself of its ethical insensibility and reform completely.