Homosexuality at school
Homoeroticism is hard topic for underage students
Should teenage students receive education on homosexuality? Do underage pupils have to be taught that it is a violation of human rights to ostracize purported gay and lesbian peers? Should schools identify homosexual students to protect them? Liberal educators seem to have gone too far.
The advisory council on the Seoul Education Board has proposed that a students' bill of rights should contain a code banning students from bullying same-sex adolescents. It says it is a violation of human rights for homosexual students to be isolated inside schools.
The board headed by liberals said schools cannot pretend not to know the lingering confusion of sexual orientation among students. Homosexual students must receive attentive care so that they can become decent members of the community. It advocates the necessity of adopting the rule.
The proposal reveals the reality that there are an unidentified number of students with homosexual preferences.
Many conservatives are fretting over the proposal. They argue that underage students would no longer be able to continue their school life once stigmatized as gay. They worry that an official debate on homosexuality might instill either fantasy or confusion on sexual orientation. They contend that the proposal might unduly fan homosexuality among teenagers.
Teachers cannot turn a blind eye to some students having different sexual orientations or preferences. Teachers need to consult these students so that they do not feel frustration and resort to extreme acts.
However, it is premature to initiate an open discussion on the issue inside schools. In Korea, even gay adults are leading double lives as homosexuality is still a taboo. The military officially bans it. The National Human Rights Commission of Korea recommends the banning of discrimination of homosexuals.
A poll showed that 77 percent of Koreans have a negative view of homosexuality. The number of people trying to understand homosexuality has risen, especially among young people.
In Confucianism-lingering Korea, many parents think of marriage and bearing children as an obligation. A strong conservative Protestant lobby has made Korea a difficult place to be gay.
Liberal educators seem to be far ahead of the times. With many adults reluctant to discuss the issue, open debate on the homoerotic issue among teenagers is a tall order. If educators want a debate on lesbian love, then why do they not propose an open discussion on heterosexuality and bisexuality?
Until homophobia disappears from society, schools should shelve the debate. Accurate data on the number of gay and lesbian teenagers is necessary.
The education board needs to prioritize addressing such urgent issues as textbook errors and students’ poor writing. Educators must devote themselves to normalizing public education before discussing sexual tendencies.
Students can use their discretion on hair and dress codes and possibly enjoy the rights to assembly inside school. Homoeroticism is too hard a topic to digest for underage students.