Ban sex offenders from schoolsIt has been discovered that almost half of the teachers involved in sexual offenses against their students or other adolescents are still teaching in the classroom. There is little disciplinary action for these offenders, who should be subject to much stricter ethical standards. According to data from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology collected by Grand National Party lawmaker Joo Kwang-deok, 20 out of 41 teachers who committed sex crimes against students or other juveniles from June 2005 to July 2011 were given only a reprimand, salary reduction or suspension.
Those penalties are too light to make them resign. As the data shows, the number of teachers who resigned after receiving a severe punishment for sexual molestation involving either students or adults was only 44 out of 126, or 35 percent.
One of the most essential values required of teachers is morality. A sexual assault by a teacher against a young student leaves an indelible scar on the heart of the victim. There can be no excuse for such unscrupulous behavior, which also eats away at parents’ trust of education.
Therefore, it is unfathomable that our education authorities seem to prefer dealing with the issue in an irresponsible manner. No one would agree with education authorities’ decision to give a three-month suspension to a teacher from North Gyeongsang who had a sexual relationship with a middle-schooler or the decision to give a one-month suspension to a teacher from South Jeolla who has sexually abused 11 female students. If our society turns a blind eye to their despicable behavior, we cannot put an end to their shameless action.
The government must reinforce the standards for punishing those who commit such unconscionable crimes. The precedent in which a teacher who has committed a sex crime can settle the case through an agreement with the victim’s family must not be repeated. We cannot leave our children’s education in the hands of teachers who have already lost their morals.
Statistics from the Ministry of Justice reveal that the number of sex offenders at schools has increased by 33.5 percent over the last three years. Against this backdrop, no parents should entrust their children to the schools unless they are sure their children will be safe from sex crimes.
The authorities must ban teachers with records of sexual abuse from teaching again. The job of teaching is too important to forgive such grave mistakes.