Monday, June 25, 2012

Government to Ban Alcohol Sales from Schools

The government will ban sales of alcohol in schools under new rules, the Ministry of Health and Welfare has announced. Violators will be subject to fines of up to 3 million won ($2,583) - more than the cost of most foreign beers. A ministry spokesman said that many schools already voluntarily choose not to sell alcohol.

The Ministry claimed the move has long been planned, but it comes shortly after Korea's global sporting sensation 22 year-old Kim Yu-na started teaching in a Gangnam school as part of her studies. Kim had also recently become a spokeswoman for Hite - who produce the best selling brand of domestically produced beer - sparking concerns over the promotion of alcohol to youngsters, especially given the significant rise of anti-social behavior among this age-group, which was previously limited to the children of chaebol-owners. The company were thought to be about to launch a new promotion encouraging people to quietly appreciate their beer, but the 'Shhh! Hite' campaign is now expected to be postponed.

Teachers unions have criticized the move. "Drinking is the only thing that gets me through the day" said Kim, a 43 year-old physical education instructor at a school in Seoul. However, there has been increasing concern within the teaching profession that selling alcohol in schools may contribute to a breakdown of discipline which began when liberal lawmakers banned the use of corporal punishment, apparently failing to understand the lesson of the last two decades of South Korea's history with the North - namely that the threat of violence works. While the Seoul education office released a guidebook on how to deal with unruly students following the ban, teachers said it wasn't thick enough to have any effect.

The Ministry say they will also ban the sale and drinking of alcohol in hospitals, despite fears it may lead to national shortages of ethyl alcohol.

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