Seoul education office takes actionThe Seoul education authority said on Thursday that it will dismiss teachers and education workers without warning if they are convicted of sexual crimes. The move follows an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct waged against four former and current teachers and the principal of a public high school in the capital.
Cho Hee-yeon, superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, held a press conference on Thursday in which he stated that he would not tolerate even the smallest sexual offense committed by a teacher.
“We will adopt a zero-tolerance policy for teachers who commit sexual crimes against students because schools must be safe places for our children,” Cho said.
“The Ministry of Education announced that it will strengthen the regulation that strips teachers of their licenses for committing sexual crimes, so the Seoul education office will then come up with measures accordingly.”
The Education Ministry plans to submit a revision on education regulations to the National Assembly in November. Seoul’s education authority will also establish a special organization to combat sexual crimes in schools. “We are turning our meetings on sexual crimes into a Special Countermeasure Organization for Sexual Crimes in School, which will be led by the deputy superintendent of education,” Cho said. “We will also open an SOS Center, where victims may report sexual crimes anonymously.”
The superintendent also apologized for the misconduct that is alleged to have taken place at the high school, where the principal and four teachers are suspected to have physically and verbally harassed approximately 130 female teachers and students.
“As the superintendent in charge of city education, I feel it is my responsibility and I am deeply sorry this has happened,” he said.
BY KIM BONG-MOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]