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Gov't, PPP to seek legal revisions to protect teachers in child abuse cases

Sept. 12, 2023 - 09:55 By Yonhap
Park Dae-chul (left), the top policymaker of the ruling People Power Party, and Vice Education Minister Jang Sang-yoon attend a consultative meeting of senior party and government officials at the National Assembly in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

The government and the ruling People Power Party decided Tuesday to push for a set of legal revisions aimed at safeguarding teachers' rights during child abuse investigations.

The move comes after a series of suicide deaths of teachers sparked massive demands for the protection of teacher rights. Some argue the current child abuse crimes act could hold teachers accountable for child abuse allegations stemming from what they consider necessary disciplinary actions.

The proposed revisions would mandate investigative agencies to consider the opinions of education offices when investigating child abuse allegations against teachers, according to Rep. Park Dae-chul, the PPP's chief policymaker.

Additionally, the two sides also agreed to strengthen the criteria for relieving teachers of their duties when child abuse allegations are raised. Under the current law, teachers are automatically relieved of their duties as soon as an investigation begins into child abuse cases against them.

"So far, there has been a unilateral emphasis on students' rights," Park told reporters, adding that the unique characteristics of classrooms should be fully considered when reports of child abuse against teachers are made.

Furthermore, Park said that the education ministry would conduct thorough investigations to ensure that the opinions of education superintendents are adequately taken into account during such investigations. (Yonhap)