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Cleaning duty for dress code violation infringes education rights: rights panel

South Korea’s human rights panel concluded assigning a student to cleaning duty for violating a school’s dress code infringes on the right to education.

The father of a high school student in Daejeon filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission in April, arguing it was unfair that the student was given 1 penalty point and placed on cleaning duty during class hours for wearing the student’s own jacket instead of the jacket designated as a school uniform.

The school claimed it put the student on cleaning duty during the first period as a “special assignment for disciplinary purposes” and that the student chose that punishment. 


The school’s guideline allows students to be placed on volunteer work within the school premises for discipline, but the punishment is applicable to those with total penalty points of over 10. The concerned student had no previous penalty points.

“The purpose of the school’s guideline is understandable. However, discipline should not come at the expense of the right to education,” the human rights watchdog said.

“Also it is difficult for the school to accomplish its goal to discipline students via volunteer work that is not in line with its guidelines.”

The commission added it violated the student’s education rights and freedoms, which are guaranteed by the Constitution, to put the student on cleaning duty for not wearing a uniform jacket once.

The rights panel advised the school principal to reorganize the school guideline and the teacher who punished the student to undergo job training.

By Kim Bo-gyung (