The ministry and regional education offices on Tuesday held a meeting where they decided to inspect 175 special schools across the country from August to mid-September, to come up with measures to prevent sexual misconduct and violence against disabled students.
The move follows revelations that a special school teacher in Taebaek, Gangwon Province, had sexually harassed and raped three students with mental disabilities since 2014.
The investigation teams will consist of experts, police and counsellors specializing in education for disabled students and sexual violence cases. The team is expected to run teacher surveys and conduct one-on-one interviews with students.
With the findings from the inspection, the ministry said it will decide whether to conduct the inspections regularly and announce, in November, comprehensive measures to protect disabled students.
The ministry will also review policies on teachers who are hired without having qualifications for special education, as the suspected abuser at the Taebaek school did not have a license in special education.
“We will reinforce policies and establish a safety net to protect students with disabilities from sexual abuse and violence,” Education Minister Kim Sang-gon said.
On Wednesday, prosecutors sought an arrest warrant for the 44-year-old suspect in Taebaek. Police have requested the Gangwon Provincial Office of Education to penalize another teacher at the school for not reporting the sexual misconduct after one of the victims spoke up about it last year.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)