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Teacher faces lawsuit for disturbance during college entrance exams

Teacher faces lawsuit for disturbance during college entrance exams

Posted April. 06, 2015 07:14,   


The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education will punish a teacher who disturbed a student during the College Scholastic Ability Test by letting his mobile phone vibrate while he was supervising the test.

Wage reduction for three months is the most likely to be imposed to the teacher as punishment. But the student is preparing for a civil suit claiming that the teacher and the education authority should compensate for the year wasted, including one-year tuition for a prep school and studying material expenses as he has to study one more year. This case sparks controversy on how much the education office and the teacher have to take responsibility when violating rules.

It was on Nov. 13, 2014, when the CSAT was taken across the nation. A student surnamed Choi, 21, who was taking the test for the fourth time, heard noise of a vibrating mobile phone while taking English listening test in the third hour. The noise was from a jacket that the supervising teacher known as Park took off. Afterwards, Park put his jacket under the lecture desk but the vibration repeated five times, lingering 20 seconds each time. After the test ended, Choi complained to the teacher arguing that he was distracted by the vibration noise and couldn’t focus on the test.

Park answered that the vibration noise would have been from a student’s phone. But Choi requested the test headquarters to have all bags of students in the same class inspected by a metal detector, and Park belatedly admitted it was his phone. Choi argued that he was so agitated by the incident that he ruined other tests in the following hours.

Choi told Park after the test ended, "You are going to be held accountable for my ruined life" and the teacher said, “I`ll take responsibility for things, if needed." Over the following four days, there have been quarrels over how to be held accountable.

Park said that he would receive punishment as a test supervisor. It means that he would accept official punishment from the Seoul education office and the test headquarters. On the contrary, Choi, the self-claimed victim student, demanded one-year tuition for a private prep school, and expenses for education materials and transportation, in addition to official punishment and apology. The compensation amount that Choi argues is approximately 30 million won (27,640 U.S. dollars).

Four days after the test, Choi posted in an online community where test-takers gather that he would commit a suicide by jumping. As Choi’s mobile phone was turned off on Nov. 30, the D-day that Choi announced to kill himself, the police started search for his whereabouts. After this fuss, Choi staged a protest standing alone in front of the education office and the high school where Park works, calling for punishment and compensation.

The Seoul education office held a discipline committee on March 27 and decided to cut Park’s wage for three months. While waiting for final approval to be made on the punishment, Choi holds to the stance that he will file a lawsuit against the education office and Park, who are responsible for supervision for the CSAT, to receive compensation.