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KTU Under Fire for School Principal`s Death

Posted April. 07, 2003 21:55,   


The Korea Teachers` Union (KTU) responded to the death of Suh Seung-mok, a school principal who killed himself facing a sexual harassment accusation, saying that the tragic death was attributable to wrong practices widespread in the community.

The statement, however, was soon countered by the Korea Federation of Teachers Associations (KETA), which urged KTU to make a formal apology.

With the controversy intensifying, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources now belatedly says that it will craft a plan to improve the environment.

▽KTU Issues Statement

˝We deeply feel sorry for Principal Suh`s death,˝ KTU released a statement on April7. ˝We wish that the school community will take this tragic incident as a chance to resolve the old problem of antagonism and build cordial relationship.˝

The union came short of making an apology or admitting its responsibility, however. ˝Some press and media are trying to manipulate this case for their political campaign,˝ it pointed its fingers to the press.

▽KFTA Issues Statement

˝We are appalled to the fact that KTU put undue pressure to Principal Suh while the case could have been resolved through discussions,˝ KFTA said in a statement. ˝Since the union`s undue pressure against the principal led to his death, it must admit its responsibility and apologize.˝


▽Teachers` Associations Call for Punishment

˝The government authorities have turned a blind eye to KTU members` illegal activities,˝said the School Principals` Council. ˝We urge the government to punish those responsible for Suh`s death.˝

˝KTU have gone too far, evening exercising an influence on decision-making process in school,˝ pointed out Lee Jong-wook, Chairman of Vocational School Masters` Association. ˝We will take a due measure against this incident in league with the school principals` council.˝

▽Ministry of Education Fails to Act Swiftly

MOE kept silent until the morning of April 7, while the school community was in turmoil after the incident. Facing growing criticism for its silence, Minister Yun Deok-hong held a press interview in the late afternoon and said. ˝He will launch a taskforce team to promote mutual understanding and cooperation within the school community.˝