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최종편집 : 2023.11.27 월 18:07
Society & Global
Society & Global Section
확대축소프린트
 Jeong Ha-Yeon
For Normalizing Public Education
제 211 호    발행일 : 2023.09.04 
  On July 18, a teacher at Seoul Seo2 Elementary School committed suicide in the school. After it was confirmed that there were malicious complaints from parents and difficulties in guiding students, teachers from all over the country held protests for five weeks straight chanting “Guarantee teachers right to live!” Voices for the protection of teachers rights have grown in response to the normalization of educational sites and the desperation not to lose another fellow teacher.
  There are three types of infringement of teachers rights on educational sites. First, parental abuse of power, such as demanding wake-up calls to students, acknowledging attendance even in the case of an absence with no excuse. It interrupts reasonable activities in education in the form of excessive requests, verbal abuse, assaults, and criticism. Second, making malicious complaints. According to a recent survey of teachers all over the country, the Korea Federation of Teachers’ Associations found that, among the 11,628 cases of infringement of teachers rights that were filed, 6,700, or about 58% were malicious complaints including accusations of child abuse and threats. Third, the infringement of teachers rights by students, such as assaulting teachers, leaving class without permission, and lying on their desks. However, despite the trauma that they suffer, teachers are busy finding self-rescue measures for themselves as individuals who are not acknowledged by students and parents.
  The CBT met with present day teachers to hear their thoughts on the infringement of teachers rights. Kim Ki-hong, a teacher in Okdong elementary school, said that the most impotent experience for him was when he felt that he was alone, when he was subjected to the infringement of teachers rights in the name of child abuse. He clarified, “The culture of compartmentalizing classrooms and making teachers individually responsible for the classes leaves teachers to perceive that they have to endure on their own. Therefore, when violations of teachers rights occur, sometimes they struggle to solve the problem alone, and sometimes they overcome the problem through great suffering.” Currently, the only institutional device where teachers can get help is The Teachers Rights Protection Committee. Pursuant to Article 15 (2) of Enforcement Decree of the Teacher Status Act, it consists of not less than five but not more than ten people, including one chairperson appointed or commissioned by the principal of the school. This is achieved by taking disciplinary action against those who are involved in infringement of educational activities and protecting teachers by dividing support into three categories: administrative support, psychological counseling, and legal support. However, it is not easy to actually convene The Teachers Rights Protection Committee. Park Eun-bae, a teacher in Seojeon middle school, said, “To hold The Teachers Rights Protection Committee, the will of the administrators is needed. School administrators are very sensitive to parents’ complaints because they have a significant impact on the promotion of managers and their ability to transfer to other schools. This is why there are doubts about the effectiveness of The Teachers Rights Protection Committee to guarantee teachers rights.” In addition, teacher Kim Ki-hong said, “When parents, who are not necessarily government employees, and teachers, who are civil servants, go through judicial procedures, there is no real equivalence.” He pointed out that the legal force of The Teachers Rights Protection Committee is very limited.
  On Aug. 3, the Korea Federation of Teachers’ Associations (KFTA) presented “Top 5 Policies and 30 Tasks for Teachers rights.” The tasks include measures to protect students’ rights to study and teachers rights from indiscriminate reporting of child abuse, countermeasures against parents' infringement and malicious complaints, revision of the School Violence Prevention Act. Kim Dong-seok, KFTA teachers rights director, said “To prevent the collapse of classes and damage of teachers rights being certified through the case in Seo2 elementary school, we are requiring Top 5 Policies and 30 Tasks for Teachers rights that strengthen education and enhance the self-esteem of teachers.” Morever, he pointed out that a legal basis that addresses behavior problems in students has to be established.
  Meanwhile, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said it plans to introduce a pre-booking system for teacher interviews where parents must make reservations to meet and talk to teachers. In addition, the Ministry of Education is pushing for a plan to enroll disciplinary actions against violations of teachers rights in student records. However, on July 21, the Ministry of Education officially announced its plan to reorganize the student human rights ordinance. The contents of Article 5’s right not to be discriminated , Article 10’s right to rest, and Article 13’s freedom of privacy are under review. The Ministry of Education argues that the reorganization of the student human rights ordinance will prevent teachers from violating educational activities by advocating their own rights in various ways and enable active life guidance. In response, teacher Park Eun-bae criticized the Ministry of Education’s plan, saying, “If we recognize it as a restoration of teachers’ authority rather than a restoration of teachers rights due to the improvement of students’ human rights, we should return to the totalitarian educational scene.”
  With the Seo2 Elementary School incident as an opportunity, the restoration of teachers rights has emerged as a hot topic in the educational community, but multi-faceted discussions are needed to normalize overall public education. Teacher Kim Ki-hong , who emphasized internal efforts, said “I think internal reflection is necessary. There are cases where teachers are not free to talk about their situations. We need to define our educational goals and set clear boundaries within the teaching community.” Kim Dong-seok, KFTA teachers rights director, said, “Classrooms where teachers rights have disappeared and countries where education has weakened will decline. Teachers rights foster democratic citizens with students’ knowledge, wisdom, and talent to achieve a humanitarian spirit. This is why measures to guarantee teachers rights and to revive teachers are urgently needed.” The normalization of public education will begin by reestablishing laws and systems and spreading a culture of respect for human rights, in a reality where individual teachers have to endure violations of their rights.

By Jeong Ha-Yeon
hayeon0330@chungbuk.ac.kr
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