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Taiwan legislature passes ban on teacher-student relationships

Schools that fail to report violations will face fines of between NT$30,000 to NT$150,000

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(Pixabay image)

(Pixabay image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The legislature on Friday (July 28) passed a new draft amendment to the "Three Gender Equality Laws" that would ban teacher-student relationships (師生戀), with the notable exception of adult teachers and students if power dynamics are not involved, and schools that fail to report violations will face fines of between NT$30,000 (US$956) to NT$150,000.

The Legislative Yuan approved the third reading of a draft amendment to the Gender Equity Education Act which says that considering the asymmetry of power dynamics between teachers and students, teachers are not allowed to develop intimate relations with underage students, reported ETtoday. However, if the two parties are adults, a relationship is permissible, as long as the principal or teacher does not take advantage of their position of power.

If a student is awarded damages due to a gender-related incident on campus, the perpetrator can be liable for punitive fines one to three times the assessed amount. If the perpetrator is the school principal, he or she must be subject to punitive damages that are three to five times the amount of compensation assessed for the harm caused.

In terms of monetary penalties, the amended act adds that if school principals or teachers violate the obligation to report without justifiable reasons and fail to report within 24 hours, or if they forge, alter, destroy, or conceal evidence related to campus sexual harassment, sexual bullying, or incidents in which school principals or teachers violate professional ethics related to sex or gender, they shall be subject to a fine ranging between NT$30,000 to NT$150,000, reported CNA.

In the amended version of the act, it says "violations of professional ethics related to sex or gender by principals or staff," refers to situations in which they develop relationships with "underage students" or take advantage of "asymmetric power dynamics" when performing teaching, guidance, training, evaluations, management, counseling, or providing students with job opportunities. In interactions related to sex or gender, they are prohibited from engaging in behavior that goes against professional ethics toward students.

In the act, "students" include those engaged in advanced studies, exchange programs, internships, or training programs.

The amended act also regulates and forbids the misuse of "asymmetrical power dynamics" in schools.