The National Federation of Teachers’ Unions is considering a nationwide protest against teachers being “drafted” to direct traffic outside of schools after a teacher was injured in an accident in Kaohsiung, it said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, a Kaohsiung Fenghsiang Junior High School teacher surnamed Liang (梁) was involved in a vehicle accident while directing traffic outside the school, resulting in contusions and an intracranial hemorrhage, federation president Hou Chun-liang (侯俊良) said, adding that Liang is in critical condition at a hospital.
It is not a teacher’s responsibility to direct traffic, but many schools have nevertheless required them to perform this duty, Hou said.
The Ministry of Education has turned a blind eye to the practice, he said, adding that it should not take the lives of educators to get the government’s attention.
Local county government officials have been reluctant to ask traffic police to perform traffic duties and have instead accused teachers of being heartless, he said.
The federation said that the ministry should address the matter, or it might organize a nationwide movement and ask teachers to refuse to direct traffic at schools should the ministry continue to ignore the issue.
Former education minister Huang Jung-tsun (黃榮村) was the only official to call attention to the traffic directing duties, he said.
Federation deputy secretary-general Chang Hsu-cheng (張旭政) quoted Huang as saying on Oct. 14, 2003, that “teachers are not legally obligated to perform traffic duties, but have instead done so out of a sense of responsibility and compassion. That teachers must shoulder responsibility for tasks outside of their regular duties should be investigated.”
However, the ministry did not take any action, Chang said.
Federation member Lo Te-shuei (羅德水) said that unions want the ministry to resolve the issue and prevent similar accidents.
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