ANCHOR: The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education promulgated a new ordinance on Thursday to protect the human rights of students. In response, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology filed a suit with the Supreme Court to nullify the mandate. Our Bae Joo-yon has more.
REPORT: A controversial ordinance on protecting the human rights of students in Seoul was announced on Thursday. The Seoul Metropolitan Government proclaimed the ordinance by posting it in its official gazette under the name of Kwak No-hyun, the superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education. The city government also published the ordinance on its Web site.
With its printing in the Seoul city government’s gazette, the ordinance went into effect Thursday and is expected to bring significant changes at kindergartens as well as elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul.
The new mandate allows students to hold rallies at school and choose their own hairstyle and clothing. It also bans direct or indirect corporal punishment by teachers as well as the inspection of students’ personal belongings by school staff.
The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education plans to soon launch efforts to devise enforcement regulations and manuals regarding the new ordinance. The office is also preparing to draw up an ordinance in line with Kwak’s orders that protects teachers’ authority. It intends to implement that rule in schools in the capital before classes begin in March.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, which has continuously opposed the student human rights ordinance, filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court on Thursday morning. The ministry also requested the Supreme Court to suspend the enforcement of the ordinance until it rules on the issue.
The ordinance contains many controversial clauses including one that bans discrimination based on students’ sexual orientation. The ministry says there has yet to be social consensus on those issues which it says extend beyond what is allowed under relevant laws. It also raised issue with the procedures taken in promulgating the mandate.
The Supreme Court is set to make a decision on the ministry’s request to suspend the enforcement of the ordinance in the beginning or middle of next month. It will follow up with a ruling on the ministry’s lawsuit after it decides on the suspension.
Bae Joo-yon, KBS World Radio News.