[Letters] Teacher union conflict

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[Letters] Teacher union conflict

The recent disclosure of the members of the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union by Representative Cho Jeon-hyeok has created a huge controversy in our society.

As a student in high school, I would like to talk about my view on each of the parties concerned.

First, Cho brought light to the list, after the court’s adjudication that bid Cho to keep the list confidential. Many Grand National Party representatives took part in the revealing of the members as a way to protest against the court’s ruling on Cho: a ruling that made Cho pay 30 million won ($26,460) to the union for each day he posted the teachers’ names. No matter how unfair the court’s decisions, it was wrong for Cho and the representatives to go against the court. There were many other reasonable ways for them to argue against the court that the public would have considered plausible. I think their acts were very immature.

Second, the court ruled that Cho pay 30 million won a day to the union. Well, I know that the court had its reasons, but using common sense, it is hard to accept the ruling as rational or objective.

The court has been criticized a lot recently due to their inconsistency with their rulings and biased judgements. It is just lamentable to see another emotional and partisan ruling when the court should’ve been extra prudent and discreet.

Third, the union has long refused to reveal the names of its members arguing that teachers’ privacy would be violated. I think the union fears the revelation because they know that the public sentiment is against them.

Some teachers in the union have engaged in political and illicit acts, and have shown no reluctance to influence their students politically. This infuriated parents who know that teachers should not in any way predispose students toward certain political beliefs. If parents and students want to know about teachers who are members of the union, I believe it is a duty for the teachers to respond to that demand. If the union reveals its members itself, it would restore trust in the public, and at the same time prevent radical teachers from making anymore punitive acts.

As a student, I would like to see this kind of quarrel to disappear, so that our future generation can learn in a desirable, politics-free environment.

Jeon Jong-chan, senior student at Gwacheon Foreign Language High School
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