A group of unionized teachers have asked the Constitutional Court to review the law that bans teachers from joining political activities, court officials said Monday, challenging the long debated law that causes any teacher who wages an anti-government campaign to face disciplinary action.
The Seoul Administrative Court has accepted the appeal by three teachers, affiliated with the liberal Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union, which has some 400,000 members nationwide, to request the Constitutional Court to deliberate on whether the law infringes upon their constitutional rights to freedom of expression.
The three teachers were suspended for three months from their jobs by the Seoul educational office as punishment for voicing their political views, after being convicted by a local court for leading an anti-government campaign over its education policies.
Their statements criticized the conservative Lee Myung-bak administration’s elite-centered education policy and called for measures to reduce spending on private education.
“The comprehensive law not only bars educators from teaching students about lopsided, political propaganda, but also limits their freedom to express their political views to improve their economic and social status,” said the administrative court, which deals with appeals against administrative decisions by the government.
“Although a teachers’ group, which is composed of education experts, should be allowed to (express their opinions) to urge relevant education policies to be put in place, the law clause completely bans them from expressing opinions through the teachers’ union,” the court said in the statement.