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[News brief] Ethics teacher in Gwangju accused of child abuse

The case of a middle school teacher who was investigated by police on allegations of child abuse for screening an indecent film in class has been sent to the prosecution.

The Gwangju Nambu Police Station said Wednesday that the case has been referred for violation of the Child Welfare Act.

(Screen grab from the film `Oppressed Majority`)
(Screen grab from the film `Oppressed Majority`)

Ethics teacher Bae-Lee Sang-heun is accused of offending students by screening a French film that showed a topless woman on the streets, along with images of sexual violence.

The police launched the investigations last month after several students filed complaints with the local education office claiming they suffered mental distress after watching the film.

According to investigations, the teacher showed the 2010 French short film “Oppressed Majority” during several classes from September 2018 to March this year. The French film explores sexism in modern society by mirroring reality and depicting a women-centered world where a man suffers from everyday sexism.

The teacher claims to have shown the film as part of a gender equality education during his sexual ethics classes.

“The education office and the police did not consider my true intentions in teaching (when the movie was shown), and I hope the prosecution looks into the ethical value I put into my classes,” Bae-Lee told the Korea Herald on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Gwangju Metropolitan Office of Education dismissed Bae-Lee from his teaching position in July after the case was referred to the police. He has been protesting against the agency and the investigative authorities, claiming such measures violate his rights as an educator and calling for an end to the probe.

By Choi Ji-won (