Sex offenders barred from teaching jobs

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Sex offenders barred from teaching jobs

The government announced a plan yesterday to ban school teachers and university professors convicted of sex crimes from ever teaching again.

The Ministry of Education said yesterday that it has prepared a plan to strengthen disciplinary measures against teachers, which would bar anyone convicted of a sex crime from working at an institution, both public and private.

The plan will require revisions to current laws governing education civil servants, kindergartens and schools, and the ministry said it would push forward with those changes.

According to the ministry, sex offenders with teaching certificates will be prohibited from obtaining positions at kindergartens, elementary, middle and high schools and universities. Those currently working will be fired. Teaching certificates will also be revoked if a person is convicted of a sexual crime against a minor. The ministry also said teachers will be subject to stronger disciplinary action even before a conviction is confirmed by the highest court.

Those accused of committing a sexual crime against a minor or a disabled person, or those involved in any type of sexual trafficking case - including the trafficking of adults - may be fired, even if their convictions are not finalized.

Under the current law governing educational civil servants, only those who are actually convicted of a sex crime against minors and then fired or those who are ordered to pay more a criminal fine of 1 million won ($981) or more for the crimes can have their teaching certificates revoked. They are either discharged from their jobs or ordered to pay a criminal fine of 1 million won ($981) or more.

Under the government’s new plan, a teacher or a professor will also be relieved from a teaching position during an investigation to separate them from students. Sex crime prevention education will also become a mandatory part of faculty training.

The ministry also said it is currently reviewing a plan to make information about teachers who are convicted sex offenders public even before relevant laws are amended.

Over the past five years, 240 elementary, middle and high school teachers were punished for sexual crimes against children or adults, government statics show. Among them, 115 are still teaching, Saenuri Party Rep. Min Hyun-joo said last month, citing data provided by the ministry.

According to the figures, 108 teachers committed sexual crimes against minors, and 33 are still teaching. Of the 132 teachers whose victims were adults, 82 are still teaching.

The statistics also showed that sexual crimes against minors by teachers were increasing annually. In 2009, nine teachers were convicted of sexual crimes against minors. That number grew to 20 in 2010, and up to 29 in 2013.

By SER MYO-JA [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

















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