Corpun file 23852
The Korea Times, Seoul, 9 January 2012
Student rights ordinance up for re-discussion
By Yun Suh-young
Click to enlarge
The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education submitted an
official request to the city council Monday for reconsideration
on the student rights ordinance.
The office, headed by acting Superintendent Lee Dae-young,
requested the Seoul Metropolitan Council to review the ordinance,
arguing it could "severely hinder public interest."
The controversial rule gives students freedom to choose their own
hairstyle and clothing, allows rallies on school grounds,
prohibits discrimination against homosexuals and prohibits any
form of corporal punishment by teachers.
In a statement released Monday, the last day for requesting
reconsideration, the education office said the ordinance could
cause confusion in schools due to some articles created without
social consensus. It also said it could infringe upon the
education office chief's right to make policy decisions.
"If students with radical ideologies rally on school
grounds, it could cause chaos and violate students' right to
learn and teachers' right to teach," the education office
said in the statement.
The clause prohibiting discrimination on sexual preference could
also inculcate students with wrong sexual perspectives, the
education office said. The clause on freedom from violence could
also be manipulated as prohibiting all kinds of educational
punishment, it went on to say.
Other clauses regarding the freedom of hairstyles and freedom to
carry and use cell phones were not properly discussed by society
therefore can create confusion when approved, the education
The rights ordinance, submitted to the city council for
endorsement in October last year, was approved by the council in
December. It was to initially take effect from January and to be
initiated by schools starting from the spring semester.
With the city council adjourned at the moment, the request for
reconsideration is expected to be put to a vote at a council
emergency session in mid-February.
Under article 28 of the law on educational autonomy in local
districts, the education office may submit a request for
reconsideration within 20 days of the city council's approval if
the resolution violates the law or hinders public interest.
The ordinance has long faced opposition from the education
ministry and several conservative civic groups since it first
surfaced. When it was approved by the city council on Dec. 20,
the education ministry said that the ordinance needed to be
reviewed. Parents' groups and conservative civic organizations
also opposed its passage saying they will fight until it is
Corpun file 23889
The Korea Herald, Seoul, 26 January 2012
Seoul proclaims controversial student rights ordinance
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The Seoul Metropolitan Government on Thursday proclaimed an
ordinance to protect the human rights of students, which have
been at the center of public controversy.
With an aim to expand students' rights at school, the student
human rights ordinance bans corporal punishment by teachers as
well as discrimination against homosexual or pregnant students,
allows rallies on school grounds and gives students the freedom
to choose their own hairstyles and clothing.
The city government published the ordinance in its official
weekly gazette issued on the day.
The ordinance, the third such move following earlier
proclamations by Gyeonggi Province and Gwangju Metropolitan City,
immediately took effect in the city's elementary, middle and high
schools, as well as kindergartens.
Spearheaded in the capital city by liberal education chief Kwak
No-hyun, the ordinance was submitted to the city council for
endorsement in October and approved in December.
It is unclear, however, whether the ordinance will be upheld by
all schools from the start of the spring semester in March as the
education ministry, which has long opposed the regulation along
with some teachers and conservative groups, sought legal action
against the city's education office and Kwak.
Upon the city's proclamation of the ordinance, the education
ministry filed litigation with the Supreme Court to nullify the
regulation, along with a petition requesting its suspension until
the court makes its decision.
"The Seoul ordinance carries a number of articles created
without social consensus," the education ministry said.
"We also see the city authority violate laws in the course
of its announcement."
The country's local government act stipulates the education
ministry may sue a municipal superintendent and file a petition
to nullify city regulations within seven days of their
announcement if the chief rejects the ministry's demand for
The court is expected to make a decision as early as next month.
The issue of student rights has recently drawn much attention in
South Korea, after rampant school violence was blamed for a spate
of suicides in recent months by young students who had been
bullied. Critics have argued that giving students more rights
would make it harder for teachers to control them, exacerbating
the problem of bullying. (Yonhap News)
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