Biased educationA group of students at Inhun High School in Gwanak District, southern Seoul, were exposed to political biases and outbursts from their teachers. The rants from some of the teachers aligned to the now-outlawed Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union were unbelievable. They claimed that anyone who believes in the fake news about former Justice Minister Cho Kuk was “a dog or pig.” They called former conservative Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye “shams.” They forced students to carry banners criticizing Japan.
Their actions show an outright disregard for individual dignity and rights of students. The Seoul City Student Act stipulates that every student has the right not to be discriminated against in any way. Every student also has the freedom in conscience and religious choice as well as the right to rally and express themselves. Teachers have reneged on their duties by criticizing any student who opposes their beliefs on Cho and the government.
Students who could no longer endure their harassment went public and held a press conference to expose the “unjust teaching” from their teachers and the school. The group said 150 out of 500 students at the school back its stance. They have received over 50 complaints against political teachers over the last three days.
The school defended the teachers and took action to punish the students. Neglecting student rights against political force from teachers cannot be justified.
The Seoul Education Office sent 20 special inspectors to investigate the school upon the student petitioning. It claimed it would take some time to survey the entire student body and reach a conclusion. Whether the special investigation will lead to the penalization of teachers is also uncertain. The inspectors may be watching their leftist boss, Cho Hee-yeon, superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.
Authorities and the school must not ignore pleas from students. Teachers must not abuse their teaching posts to force their political views on young minds that should be left unstained to build individualism and judgment on themselves.