SKorea: School seizes short student skirts

June 27th, 2011 · Education and ESL · 0 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link. This was one of last week’s most-viewed articles on Naver.com.

A school that ordered a female student to remove her skirt while she was walking to school because it was too short offered the incredible explanation that “this is how our school normally guides our students,” vastly increasing the level of criticism of this as a human rights violation.

The school even claimed that there was no problem at all since its regulations provide that a student who arrives wearing a short skirt must remove it, prompting human rights organizations, parents, and students to say “what kind of understanding of rights is this?”

According to middle school A in Incheon on the 24th, normally this school confiscates students’ skirts that are too short and keeps them in the teacher’s room.

Accordingly, in this incident teacher B, following the school regulations, noticed that student C’s skirt was too short and ordered her to disrobe.

School principal D explained that “normally a teacher will inspect students’ uniforms at the front gate and if a skirt is short then it will be confiscated… on that day, as usual, the teacher noticed that C’s skirt was short and, thinking that she was wearing her gym class uniform underneath it, ordered her to take it off.”

Principal D added that “teacher B is guiding other students and I have asked her whether C removed her skirt at the gate… also, when she took her skirt off C was wearing a jacket around her waist, so I believe there was no problem.”

Once the skirt-removal incident became controversial, the school opened a committee on the 23rd to investigate the teacher and amend the rules on confiscating short skirts. Also, a committee was formed to consider punishing teacher B.

Parents’ organizations and human rights and civic organizations are strongly raising their voices, calling it a clear human rights violation to make students remove the skirts of their school uniforms in areas where they can be seen by students walking to school.

An official with the Incheon branch of a large parents organization (참교육을 위한 전국학부모회) said that “female students consider undershorts to be underwear, so this could inflict long-lasting harm on sensitive female students… with corporal punishment fading away from school, when students do something wrong the punishment has to be implemented in steps, but in this case the student’s rights were completely ignored through a shocking method.”

An official with the Incheon branch of the Korean Teachers’ & Education Workers Union (전국교직원노동조합) said that “this could occur in the process of student guidance, but this kind of guidance is problematic… the Office of Education must create a clear and definite policy for student guidance.”

An official with the Incheon Office of Education’s life guidance section said that “we are investigating the order that teacher B made at the time that ‘that cannot be called a school uniform. This will be in your permanent record, bring the skirt over here’… it is more or less a moral problem, but recently it has become popular for students to wear extremely short skirts and this incident occurred while cracking down on that.”

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