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Daycare center teachers' licenses revoked due to child emotional abuse: court

May 30, 2023 - 15:13 By Lee Jung-youn

The Constitutional Court has ruled that a current law, which revokes a daycare center teacher's license if the principal or teacher is punished for emotionally abusing children, does not violate the Constitution.

Earlier in June 2017, two daycare center teachers were accused on charges of showing homophobic videos to 18 elementary school students who visited the daycare center for volunteer activities.

They claimed that the video was to warn the children of the dangers of homosexuality and AIDS, but the court sentenced the teachers to eight months in prison and two years of probation, respectively, judging that they had violated Child Welfare Act. “The children were traumatized by the sudden exposure to videos that they did not want to encounter, and there was no way to avoid watching them," said the court.

Two teachers appealed to the high court but the ruling was finalized by the Supreme Court in June 2020. After the sentence was finalized, the head of Dalseo-gu District, Daegu -- the district where the daycare center in question was located -- revoked the qualifications of the two teachers in September 2020. One of the teachers also had a certificate to run a daycare center as a headmaster, which was also revoked.

The two teachers filed an administrative lawsuit, saying it was unfair to revoke their qualifications as daycare center teachers when there had been no court order to do so. They lost the case and filed a constitutional complaint against Article 48-1-3 of the Child Care Act, which stipulates that administrative agencies can disqualify teachers who got punished for violating the Child Welfare Act, in August 2021.

The two teachers argued that it was unfair for the administrative agency to revoke the status of the head of a daycare center or a childcare teacher, despite the fact that they had received punishment for having violated the Child Welfare Act.

However, the Constitutional Court said, "Child abuse crimes committed by the head of a daycare center or teachers can have a fatal impact on the physical and emotional development of children. There is a great need to cancel their certificates and exclude them from environments involving children."