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Criminal background checks for all teachers

Criminal background checks for sex offenses will be released for all faculty members of education facilities, to better protect the nation’s students, officials said Wednesday.

According to the Education Ministry, a first round census took place between May and July, surveying 189,759 nurseries, schools and private academies. Out of a total 1,026,852 faculty members 85.2 percent gave their consent to the census and took part.

The ministry is also looking to legally obtain consent from 17,891 staff members who refused to give consent.

Of those who refused the inquiry, 10,556 were from elementary, middle and high schools, another 6,905 from private academies, and 431 staff members from preschools.

The inquiry comes after a law was passed in April last year.

The ministry plans to release the findings of the inquiry.

If an individual is found with an existing sex offense record, the ministry will request the overseeing office of education to have them transferred as soon as possible.

Regardless of the weight of the sex offense, they will be removed from all education and leadership duties.

The ministry is actively pushing for a revised bill to pass through the National Assembly, to have faculty members stripped of their teacher’s certification and fired from their post, slapped with at least a fine of one million won ($837). Currently the law states that a teacher must step down only if given a prison sentence in a sex offense case.

The film “Dogani” ― or “The Crucible” in English ― is a screen adaptation of a book written by Kong Jee-young in 2009 and has since been a box office hit, sparking public outcry. It depicts a case in which several disabled students at Gwangju Inhwa School, a special educational institution for the hearing-impaired, were raped by teachers for five years from 2000.

By Robert Lee (robert@heraldcorp.com)
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