Translated by Wenyou; Reviewed by Kenny
The concern group of Heung To Middle School recalled a Form 4 student to a meeting with the school principal and discipline master yesterday. The school said the student wrote a protest slogan on the avatar of Microsoft Teams, an online communication software, and was thus punished with an immediate suspension of one week. The school told the student that if he wanted to keep his degree, he would have to take two defaults and was warned that he would be expelled from school if he was found to be involved in social movements again.
The principal said that the incident has already hurt the school, saying that the student often took the opportunity to confront the school and made a big issue out of a small incident, which required the school to explain to the public. He also said he hoped the student could “change his environment” and that he did not have confidence in the student, saying expulsion was the best option for him.
In a media interview, the Form 4 student in question said that he had immediately changed his avatar as requested by his teacher on the day the incident was discovered, but he was still heavily punished by the school. He also confessed that he was surprised by the heavy penalty and was worried about his academic future.
A spokesman of Education Bureau(EDB) said the school had been informed of the incident and the matter was taken seriously, and EDB would continue to liaise with the school and provide appropriate professional advice. The spokesman also reiterated that the EDB has written to all primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong, stating clearly that students should not engage in unlawful behavior and activities, and urging schools to handle students’ unruly behavior in accordance with the established disciplinary and guidance policies. The spokesman also believed that the school would try its best to give the students a chance to rectify their mistakes and would not give up on them lightly.
The government has repeatedly targeted the education sector since the controversy over the amendment. The Apple Daily has learnt that the post of Deputy Secretary, which is in charge of the Education Bureau’s department responsible for reviewing personnel promotions of all schools in Hong Kong and handling complaints against teachers, was “parachuted” a few months ago by the Chief Executive, Carrie Lam’s former senior Administrative Officer (AO), Edward To, in a departure from the usual practice of appointing education grade staff over the years.
It is learnt that AO’s parachuting this time has aroused strong dissatisfaction within the Education Bureau. The President of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (HKPTU), Mr Fung Wai-wah, also described the transfer as unusual and expressed concern that Mr To might be carrying out a political mission. Edward To was transferred and deployed to the above post in April this year, and in June, he published an article entitled “A Message from the Education Bureau”, saying that it is not easy to smoothly resume classes, and calling on parents to remind their children “not to participate in dangerous or illegal activities”.