Female middle and high school students are being ignored even as they illegally alter their school uniforms to be “mini uniforms” or “S-line uniforms”, and parents organziations say school administrators are neglecting their duties but have been rebuffed by prosecutors and have said they will appeal to their superiors as controversy grows over the harmful effects of altered school uniforms.
According to Judge Jeong Sang-hwan of the Seoul Central District Courts 7th criminal division, the parents organization Haksamo (학교를사랑하는학부모의모임) asked the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office to bring charges against 211 school administrators for neglect of official duties for failing to stop students from altering their uniforms in violation of school rules.
The SPO announced, “because students who alter their uniforms cannot be arrested, it is difficult to see there being any form of neglect by school administrators.” The SPO added, “even when the large school uniform companies sell uniforms that violate school rules, principals have no authority to take legal action against them.”
Haksamo reacted strongly by announcing its intention to take the matter to the Seoul Public Prosecutor’s Office. Goh, Jin-gwang, head of Haksamo’s committee on school uniforms, said, “school uniform regulations are decided on by each school’s operating committee… Principals have the responsibility to crack down on illegally altered uniforms.” Goh added, “expensive altered uniforms are a strategy of the big uniform companies to raise the price of uniforms because growing students need new uniforms frequently… It is not only a matter of student safety but also bursting the school uniform bubble, and that us why we demand that principals exercise their responsibilites.”
In February of 2009 Haksamo asked the SPO to bring charges against four education officials for failing to take action against illegally altered school uniforms, but the SPO responded “school uniform regulations are the sole province of school administrators,” and on February 18th of this year Haksamo asked for charges for neglect of official duties be brought against 211 school principals based on the results of a study of the altered school uniform situation carried out by the Ministry of Science, Education, and Technology (교육과학기술부).
There is another, shorter article on the subject here. As longtime readers may remember, the Chosun Ilbo did some rather pervy investigation of the subject a little over a year ago. And frankly, if these parents are outraged, let’s hope for their sakes’ they never go to Japan.
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