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Posted : 2010-05-23 16:16
Updated : 2010-05-23 16:16

Religious freedom in schools

Dear editor,

With regard to the April 25 editorial titled ``Religious Freedom," I absolutely agree with your opinion that religious schools should not force students to attend religious classes or services against their will.

No one should be discriminated against because of their religious beliefs as guaranteed by the Constitution. Still, Daegwang High School, operated by Protestants, used corporal punishment on Kang We-suck and expelled him for refusing to participate in religious services, which infringed on his religious freedom.

He shouldn't have been expelled from school. Instead, he should have been supported and praised by teachers for his bravery. Schools need to teach students not only for their academic knowledge but also for defending their rights and making their voices heard when their rights are violated.

Respecting students' religious orientation doesn't mean religious schools' rights are ignored. They can still have religious classes and events.

If they don't want students with different beliefs and nonbelievers, they can change their school system and select their own students like technical high schools do. Or, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology can allow religious schools to choose their own students.

Like Kang, I went to a high school run by Protestants through a lottery system. Although I was an atheist, I had to attend worship and take a religious class every week against my will. I was also forced to memorize and chant the Apostles' Creed and the Lord's Prayer.

I should have done something about it, but I didn't. I was humbled when I heard about this courageous student. I appreciate his heroic protest. Thanks to him, students' religious freedom in schools will be respected.

Hong Eun-joo
Middle school teacher
jizell@hanmail.net
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