Education authorities in Incheon are scrambling to deal with social media posts alleging sexual misconduct in the city’s schools.
The #MeToo reports on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are mostly posts by students accusing teachers of verbal sexual harassment or sexual assault. They also say the schools are abetting such behaviors.
When the #MeToo reports about Incheon schools first appeared on social media in early September, the Incheon Metropolitan Office of Education said it only looks into official reports made through the government’s online petition service. Only two complaints of sexual misconduct in schools had been filed with the online petition service at that time.
The inspector’s office under the Incheon Metropolitan Office of Education also said that district offices of education are charged with looking into sexual misconduct reports and the inspector’s office does not intervene in the process.
“The district office (of the school district where complaints about sexual violence have been filed) is looking into what happened, and the city office of education is not involved in a separate investigation,” an official from the inspector’s office is reported to have said at the time.
“It is my understanding that they are not investigating other #MeToo reports on social media.”
A local civic group consisting of female workers in the Incheon area paid a visit to the city’s education superintendent to urge him to deal with sexual offenses in schools, and began an online petition campaign.
The Incheon branch of the Korea Teachers and Education Workers’ Union also issued a statement, calling on the city education office to investigate the allegations.
The two groups urged the Incheon Metropolitan Office of Education to thoroughly investigate the incidents, punish the offenders, find ways to resolve conflicts connected with the #MeToo movement in schools, and conduct a survey on sexual violence in schools.
As the number of #MeToo cases at Incheon schools rose to five this month, the Incheon Metropolitan Office of Education said it will organize a 15-member inquiry team. It also said the school district commissioners will work with the district offices to deal with schools where the allegations are especially serious.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org