Seoul’s education chief begins protest against abolition of student rights ordinance

SEOUL, Seoul's education chief began a one-person protest Wednesday to oppose the abolition of a student rights ordinance.

Cho Hee-yeon, superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, embarked on the protest on Gwanghwamun Square in downtown Seoul on Wednesday morning and plans to continue the demonstration for eight days in other parts of the capital until Dec. 22, when the plenary session of the Seoul Metropolitan Council ends.

The student human rights ordinance, first enacted in 2010, has been enforced by seven regional education offices, including Seoul's. The ordinance bans corporal punishment by teachers, as well as discrimination against homosexual and pregnant students, allows rallies on school grounds and gives students the freedom to choose their own hairstyles and clothing.

Although the ordinance has received praise for guaranteeing students' rights, it has also faced criticism for making it difficult for teachers to guide and discipline students effectively at schools.

Cho's protest came as the city council has been moving to abolish the student rights ordinance and create a new one that is focused on strengthening students' obligations and protecting teachers' rights.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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