Teachers who named the 49th, the 49th anniversary of the death of a teacher who died at an elementary school in Seocho-gu, Seoul, as ‘Public Education Stop Day’, are taking action with even greater anger. This is because it has been reported that three teachers committed suicide in the past four days in Gyeonggi Province and Jeonbuk Province.
According to the education world, the teachers’ ‘detour strike’ on this day will proceed in two directions: memorial actions using annual leave or sick leave, and rallies held across the country. First of all, it is expected that some teachers will not come to work on a weekday, using annual leave or sick leave, in order to have time to commemorate the incident. In preparation for the disruption to school educational activities as the number of vacancies increases, some schools have decided to designate that day as a discretionary holiday.
As of 5 p.m. on the 1st, the Ministry of Education found that 30 elementary schools across the country (0.5%) are planning temporary closures (discretionary closure days). When ‘Indy School’, a community for elementary school teachers, initially counted, there were more than 400 schools that had plans to designate discretionary holidays, but the number of participating schools decreased significantly when the Ministry of Education announced that it could discipline teachers for collective action.
Instead, there are still many teachers who plan to use annual leave, sick leave, early dismissal, and vacant leave, so some schools are operating the academic schedule as is but considering methods such as shortened classes, joint classes, and integration of grades, or recommending field experiential learning to parents. . Some Seoul elementary schools sent notices to teachers asking them to post sick leave or annual leave on the same day after the Ministry of Education announced its hard-line response policy.
A teacher at an elementary school in Seoul said, “It is said that more than 70% of the teachers at the school will not show up that day.” He added, “The school said that they would conduct safety education and school violence prevention education by integrating grade levels on this day, and they would shorten classes by providing lunch and immediately dismissing the class. “We decided to do it,” he told Yonhap News.
A large-scale rally will be held on the street in front of the National Assembly building from 4:30 PM to 6 PM on this day. The organizer, named ‘Everyone Together with One Mind,’ said, “We plan to hold a memorial service for the 49th teacher of Seoi Elementary School in front of the National Assembly, urging the National Assembly to investigate the truth about the teacher who died unjustly and to immediately revise the child abuse laws.”
Memorial rallies are held simultaneously in city and provincial offices of education across the country at similar times. In addition to the National Assembly Building in Seoul, rallies are scheduled at the Chungnam Office of Education, Daegu Office of Education, Daegu 2/28 Memorial Park, Gwangju 5/18 Democracy Square, Jeju Office of Education, Incheon Office of Education, Chungbuk Office of Education, and in front of Boramae Park in Daejeon.
National universities of education (Seoul National University of Education, Gyeongin National University of Education, Chuncheon National University of Education, Korea National University of Education, and Gongju National University of Education) are also planning to hold simultaneous memorial rallies on campus at around 7 p.m. The exact size of participation in the rally is not yet known, but since it is held in the afternoon when teachers finish their normal work hours안전놀이터, it is expected that the size will not be small.
Separately from the rally in front of the National Assembly, the ’49th Memorial Service’ will be held at the Seoicho Auditorium in Seocho-gu at 3 p.m., hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education. This event will be attended by Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education Superintendent Cho Hee-yeon, Gyeonggi Province Superintendent Lim Tae-hee, Korea Federation of Teachers’ Association President Jeong Seong-guk, Teachers’ Union Federation Chairman Kim Yong-seo, National Teachers and Education Workers Union Chairman Jeon Hee-young, and other seniors and juniors from the deceased’s school. From 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., a memorial space for citizens will be prepared and operated at the Seoicho playground.
The Ministry of Education has been urging teachers to refrain from gatherings, saying that their collective actions are a violation of the obligation to prohibit collective actions under the National Public Officials Act. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Lee Joo-ho also issued an appeal for the restoration of teaching rights and normalization of the educational field, and again urged students to refrain from collective action, saying, “We ask teachers to stand by their students.”
However, even after the Seoicho incident, the atmosphere in the church is becoming more and more serious as tragedies of teachers taking their own lives continue to occur. On the 31st of last month, a 14-year teacher from an elementary school in Yangcheon, Seoul was found dead in an apartment in Deokyang-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, and on the 1st, a teacher from an elementary school in Gunsan was found dead in the sea under the Dongbaek Bridge in Gunsan, Jeollabuk-do.
In fact, the organizers estimated that 200,000 teachers attended the rally held near the National Assembly building on the 2nd, making it the largest memorial rally held every weekend since the death of a teacher in Seocho-gu.
Meanwhile, on the 3rd, a high school teacher in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, was found dead on the hiking trail of Cheonggyesan Mountain in Seongnam City. One day before the ‘Public Education Stop Day’, three teachers died one after another in four days. In particular, it is expected to have repercussions as it is known that the police have secured a statement from the bereaved family that the deceased was ‘recently under severe stress due to complaints from parents.’