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Thursday, December 12, 2019, 01:20
Schoolteacher misconduct to be punished
By Gu Mengyan
Thursday, December 12, 2019, 01:20 By Gu Mengyan

Hong Kong teachers may have their teaching certifications revoked by education authorities if they are found guilty of crimes during the prolonged anti-government movement, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said on Wednesday.

Yeung told reporters that the Education Bureau takes allegations of teacher misconduct very seriously and, when warranted, will take disciplinary action, including warnings, reprimands and deregistration of teaching credentials.

To protect students, the Education Bureau should revoke the licenses of teachers found guilty of criminal offenses. The danger is that those teachers may instigate underage students to the front line of street violence

Tang Fei, principal of Tseung Kwan O Heung To Secondary School

The bureau has finished evaluating 60 of the 106 complaints against teachers and schools received between mid-June and early November. After preliminary investigations, 30 teachers were found to have breached professional codes under the special administrative region’s Education Ordinance, Yeung said. Disciplinary actions are being considered, he added.

“We will consider the background of the case and what actually happened in these cases,” Yeung said. “Then we will decide whether there is misconduct on the teacher’s part.”

According to professional rules, a teacher who is arrested or charged should report the incident to the school, which will decide whether the teacher should remain in the classroom, Yeung said. Officials weigh cases considering the influence on the safety of students.

The bureau has asked a school in Sheung Shui to consider suspending a teacher who was arrested with six students on Monday morning, Yeung said.

The seven were among the 12 arrested on suspicion of attempting to use homemade barricades ahead of a planned citywide traffic disruption on Monday. The 31-year-old teacher and two of the students appeared in Fanling Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday morning. No pleas were entered.

Tang Fei, principal of Tseung Kwan O Heung To Secondary School, said that to protect students, the Education Bureau should revoke the licenses of teachers found guilty of criminal offenses. The danger, he said, is that those teachers may instigate underage students to the front line of street violence.

Lawmaker Elizabeth Quat Pui-fan said the bureau should also investigate teachers accused of disseminating hatred or abetting students to join unlawful assemblies or violent protests. Parents are increasingly worried about teachers having a negative influence, Quat said, citing the participation of many underage students in violent protests.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also expressed concern about the potential for violence to spread to the city’s schools, in light of teacher arrests and the discovery of two homemade bombs at a secondary school in Wan Chai on Monday.

Lam had directed the Education Bureau to closely follow teachers’ cases, given that 40 percent of the more than 6,000 arrested during unrest are students.

jefferygu@chinadailyhk.com

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