A first-grade teacher in Ulsan is facing controversy and under investigation after assigning a homework assignment requiring students to take photos of their washed underwear.
The incident came to light through a portal site on April 27th where a parent of a new student posted their concern about a number of strange things happening at the school. Under the post titled, "Is this first-grade teacher normal?" The parent included a screenshot of a message sent to a group chat by a first-grade homeroom teacher asking parents of new students to upload pictures and introduction paragraphs due to the start of school being pushed back because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Parents found the teacher's comments towards the students' introductions problematic, which included:
"I fall in love easily with princesses with charming eye smiles."
"I thought we only had beautiful girls in this class but we have handsome boys too. Please tell them I don't like men who are more good looking than me."
"Our class has so many beautiful girls. Our male friends will be glad."
"Charming and sexy."
The parent reported the incident to the local newspaper, leading to the Ulsan Metropolitan Office of Education reply to the complaint which reads as follows:
Thank you for your interest in XX school. This is a response to your civil complaint to the newspaper.
We understand your concern regarding possible sexual and physical comments made by first-grade teacher XX. We are relaying information from the school after looking into your complaint.
According to the teacher, he asked parents to upload pictures and introductory paragraphs in order to introduce students at the opening day ceremonies. For the students who were not able to participate, he prepared a meaningful enrollment process. He complimented the pictures in order to encourage the children and left comments regarding their physical appearances. However, he acknowledged that there are points that could be seen as objectifying and sexual, leading to reflection. We received a reply saying that they would abstain from making those types of comments and act in an upright manner while watching the children grow. In addition, he said he would remove the picture of students' bodies on the bookshelf. The school has also stated that they would hold gender-sensitivity training for all employees."
However, shortly afterward, the same teacher was surrounded by controversy again. A report from another teacher at a school stated the same controversial teacher had assigned students to a strange homework assignment: wash the underwear themselves and upload a picture as proof in order to raise their self-confidence by completing a difficult task. After parents uploaded the pictures, the teacher would chime on on the photos with comments such as:
"Pretty underwear. Blushing."
"The pink underwear is pretty."
"I shyly pass the princess's homework assignment."
Although they were reported and stated they would reflect, the teacher continued to assign strange assignments, leading to parents acting in anger. The Ulsan Metropolitan Office of Education has since announced that they would investigate the teacher.