The Korea Herald

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Stepparents can join school committee: rights commission

By 윤민식

Published : July 16, 2015 - 16:13

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Banning stepparents from joining school operating committees at their stepchildren’s school is an act of discrimination, the state-run rights commission said Thursday.

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea said it recommended the Education Ministry revise its manual on school committees, which bans anyone without a legal filiation of a child from joining his or her school committee.

Even if the marriage effectively made them parent and child, one still has to undergo a formal adoption process to be legally considered a parent.

In March, a 59-year-old man surnamed Kim filed a petition to the NHRC after his attempt to become a committee member at his child’s school was thwarted.

The NHRC said that barring the stepparent, who takes care of the child and oversees his education, from joining a school committee falls under “irrational discrimination,” stipulated by clause 2 of the National Human Rights Commission Act. It added that allowing one to exercise his or her rights as a parent at a school should be based on one’s actual relationship with the child, not on legal status.

“The rights exercised as a school committee member does not involve legal complications such as the child‘s legal proxy. We must prioritize what is in the best interest of the child,” it said. 

By Yoon Min-sik
(minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)