Complaints against Teachers’ Facebook Posts Cleared by Schools: HK Education Bureau Charged Professional Misconduct Anyway

Since the Anti-Extradition Movement outbreak in Hong Kong, more than 100 teachers were accused of professional misconduct by the Education Bureau of the HKSAR Government (EBHK).

Most of them shared Anti-Extradition news on their personal Facebook pages with privacy settings that limited both students and parents, and they did not express their personal views on the posts. The schools received numerous anonymous complaints with screenshots on such posts. Even though the schools found the teachers to be innocent, EBHK punished them by rejecting the schools’ investigation reports. Around 107 complaints were completed, 42 of which were found innocent. EBHK took disciplinary actions on 32 cases, including issuance of 10 reprimand letters and 3 warning letters. EBHK also verbally warned and issued warning letters to 10 and 9 teachers, respectively.

Chow was one of the teachers who received disciplinary actions. He had considered the appeal but was worried that he would lose teaching qualification if he did, so he gave up on the thought. Afterwards, he also re-examined the FB friends list and reduced sharing or commenting on the news. He described the incident as white terror, like “thought censorship.” IP Kin-yuen, a member of the Education Legislative Council who assisted in following up on Chow’s case, criticized the Education Bureau for “abusing the charge of professional ethics violations, and restraining teachers’ thoughts and suppress freedom of speech.”

Most of the teachers worried about their jobs and dared not appeal against the EBHK, even with monetary support and encouragement from Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union.

Source: The Stand News

Contributor: GM02

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