In This Nation, Teachers Have Had It With Abusive Parents

South Korean educators stage mass rally for better protection of their rights
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 17, 2023 9:00 AM CDT
In This Nation, Teachers Have Had It With Abusive Parents
Teachers pay silent tribute to a late teacher during a rally to demand better protection of their rights near the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Thousands of South Korean school teachers and staff rallied in Seoul on Saturday for more legal protection from bullying by parents, a rising problem in a country known for its brutally competitive school environments. The weekend demonstrations in the capital city, were triggered by the death of a teacher who was found dead at her elementary school in July after reportedly expressing emotional distress caused by complaints from allegedly abusive parents, per the AP. The protesting teachers, who have rallied for weeks, say current laws make it difficult to exercise control over their classrooms and leave them at the mercy of overbearing parents, who could easily accuse them of emotionally abusing children.

South Korean lawmakers are currently debating bills that would meet some of the teachers' demands for immunity from child abuse claims. But some experts have raised concerns over the potential changes, saying the proposals could further weaken protection for children, who toil for years in hypercompetitive environments. In South Korea, graduating from elite universities is seen as crucial for career and marriage prospects. According to Education Ministry and the National Health Insurance Service data provided to liberal opposition lawmaker Kim Woni last week, more than 820 elementary, middle- and high-school students died of suicide between 2018 and 2022.

Amid the teachers' growing anger, South Korea's conservative government launched a task force earlier this month to explore new education-related laws that would reflect the opinions of teachers in an effort to protect them from child abuse allegations. The education and justice ministries in their joint press release accused Seoul's former liberal government of employing policies that "overemphasized the human rights of children," which they said led to an increase in "unwarranted child abuse reports." (Read more South Korea stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.