Article from The Korea Times
22 July 2009
By Kang Shin-who
A ruling-party lawmaker proposed a bill Wednesday to restrict the entry of parents and other people into elementary and secondary schools.
Rep. Cho Jeon-hyeok of the governing Grand National Party submitted the bill in order to protect teachers from violence by parents or strangers. To enter a school, they would be required to receive prior approval from schoolmasters or teachers.
``The bill is to prevent sudden visits by parents or strangers that may result in teachers being attacked. We need to protect teachers’ rights in order to protect the students’ right to learn,’’ said Lee Pyeong-gi, secretary of Rep. Cho.
So far, schools have remained vulnerable to violence by parents, and have been unable to keep strangers off of school property, as there are no legal grounds banning outsiders from entering.
However, some parents and civic groups oppose the move. Whether the bill will be passed at the National Assembly remains uncertain given the outcry.
``Restricting patents’ entry into school is too much. Parents have the right to discuss matters involving their children with teachers whenever they want,’’ said Choi Mi-sook of the group Parents Who Love Schools.
The bill also introduces measures to protect teachers from slander and defamation. It seeks to create a mediation committee to deal with strife between teachers and parents.
With the growing number of assaults on teachers, teachers’ groups have called for the government to establish a law to root out violence in schools. The Korean Federation of Teachers’ Association (KFTA), the largest organization for teachers in the nation, has been campaigning for the law in recent years.
Last year, elementary and secondary schools saw a series of teachers attacked by parents and students. For example, the father of a middle school student attacked a teacher because he was unhappy with the teacher’s handing of a scuffle between his son and a classmate. The teacher sustained injuries that required over four weeks to recover.