The Korea Herald


Family urges education office to acknowledge teacher’s death as work-related

By Park Jun-hee

Published : Aug. 31, 2023 - 13:26

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The bereaved family of a 23-year-old elementary school teacher who reportedly died by suicide in July filed a claim to the Seoul Gangnam Seocho District Office of Education on Thursday to have her death recognized as work-related, claiming that she died due to an excessive workload and complaints from parents.

The late teacher, who was a first grade teacher at an elementary school in Seocho-gu, southern Seoul, struggled with a large workload and a student who had allegedly misbehaved in class, according to her family. She had also reportedly been “verbally harassed” by the parent of a student who had suffered from bullying during this year’s first semester, the family claimed. They said the parent had repeatedly complained about the teacher’s failure to prevent the bullying.

The family added that the teacher had subsequently become “extremely fearful” of parental complaints, particularly when receiving phone calls from parents outside of work hours.

“The process of recognizing (a person’s) death in the line of duty is an administrative procedure which (acknowledges) that severe suffering (in the course of one’s job) can worsen (one’s) mental health (and) lead to self-harm,” the surviving family said via a statement distributed to a group of local reporters. The police are still investigating the case.

If you’re thinking about self-harm or suicide, contact the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s helpline 1393, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please request a translator for English-language services.