Corpun file 22590
Joong Ang Daily, Seoul, 21 October 2010
Letters to the editor
Resisting Students' Rights
By Joo Na Hyun, a freshman at Daewon Foreign Language High School
Click to enlarge
As a 17-year-old who has been granted the chance to experience
various school environments over the past nine years, I know lots
of kids who will be subject to the "students' rights
act" that proposes banning corporal punishment, lifting hair
and dress-code restrictions, loosening cell phone rules and
permitting participation in after-school rallies. Thus I believe
that what the whole controversy needs is an opinion from a person
like me. Biased perhaps, but still a truthful insight from a
Korean student who believes she knows more than any group that
thinks it can tell us what to do.
Nine years in school has proved to me that today's students go
far beyond what statistics show us. They are people who can
"kiss." They are people who can skip classes every
other day. They are people who smoke for hours at a time. I have
seen the worst of students, and in them, the need for the
"rod of love." Yes, I have seen corporal punishment
used a bit excessively on ordinary students, but never without
reason. But more than that, I have seen the worst kids stop
disrupting classmates after corporal punishment, while I have
never seen any other nonphysical methods work on these kids.
Corporal punishment should remain as a last resort at least.
Furthermore, in regards to abolishing restrictions on student
clothing and hair, I have my doubts. Though doing so is in
accordance with every human being's right to express his or her
feelings and thoughts, the truth remains that students are
students. When they decide to attend schools funded by the
government, they are doing so in full knowledge that their fellow
classmates and teachers study with them. If passing the law means
that some students could wear miniskirts and tank tops to school
like girl idol groups, or color their hair hot pink, it's not
simply ruining their own lives, it's ruining their classmates'.
The problem is where to draw the imaginary line between what's
acceptable and what's not. If the students' rights act is going
to leave it up to the student, I am pretty sure where that line
will fall for my-grades-are-bad-anyway students who are going to
be presented with a fresh sense of freedom to provide them an
escape from their studies. But it can't possibly be that current
restrictions on clothing and hair really help students study.
Corpun file 22588
Yonhap News Agency, 24 October 2010
Most Seoul schools set new rules to ban corporal punishment
SEOUL, Oct. 24 (Yonhap) -- Most primary and secondary schools
in Seoul have recently established rules forbidding corporal
punishment in line with a policy proposed by the capital's
liberal educational chief, Seoul's educational office said
Nearly 80 to 90 percent of high schools and about 50 percent of
elementary and middle schools in Seoul have adopted new rules or
revised previous rules to ban corporal punishment, the Seoul
Metropolitan Office of Education said.
The remaining elementary and middle schools are expected to
follow suit in the coming weeks, the office said.
Liberal Superintendent Kwak No-hyun, who was elected in a popular
election in June, took office in July and directed all schools
not to physically punish their students as part of reforms.
Schools moved slowly until early this month to carry out the
direction, but showed progress from the third week after the
authority sent supervisors to schools to encourage reforms, the
Despite the presence of new rules, it is unclear whether they
will remain effective with some teachers expressing concerns that
a growing number students could become unruly because of the
"no corporal punishment" policy.
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