|Jeollabukdo Office of Education building located in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province / Courtesy of Jeollabukdo Office of Education|
By Lee Hyo-jin
Two teachers at an elementary school in Jangsu, North Jeolla Province, face disciplinary action for carrying on an extramarital relationship during work hours, according to the provincial education office, Monday.
Through a recent audit, Jeollabukdo Office of Education confirmed the affair between the two faculty members ― a married male teacher and a single female teacher ― in an elementary school in its jurisdiction. The investigation was prompted by a public petition filed on Cheong Wa Dae's website last December.
The two teachers allegedly engaged in inappropriate acts on school grounds including the classroom, and took multiple photos of themselves together, including shots of them kissing in an empty classroom. During a field trip, they allegedly neglected their duties as teachers by leaving students with the instructors of the cultural center they were visiting so that they could go off on their own. They also exchanged private text messages during class, according to the office.
The Ministry of Education authority viewed such acts as violations of the duties of obedience and maintenance of dignity as stipulated in public service regulations. It ordered Jangsu Office of Education under the provincial education office to immediately separate the two teachers and form a disciplinary committee to decide on their punishment.
Speculation about an affair had first been raised through a public petition filed on the Cheong Wa Dae website, Dec. 24.
The petition, posted by an anonymous person, alleged the misconduct saying that the two teachers were acting inappropriately toward each other in school as well as during field trips, violating the students' "right to education."
"In October, the male teacher made inappropriate jokes while taking a video of the female teacher sleeping on a couch in a school corridor, in the presence of students," the petitioner alleged, adding that some of the older elementary students would have noticed that there was something going on between the two.
They frequently spent time together in the classroom and exchanged sexually explicit messages using the school's internal messenger, the petitioner said.
The petitioner demanded heavy punishment and dismissal of the "unqualified educators," as well as permanently banning them from teaching jobs.
Their alleged affair fueled anger among the public, and a teachers' group called for a thorough investigation.
"The alleged inappropriate behavior of male and female teachers in an educational venue is very regrettable and worrisome," the Korean Federation of Teachers Associations said in a statement.