Source: HK Free Press (12/11/19)
Hong Kong Education Bureau ‘considering penalties’ for around 30 teachers over protest-related conduct complaints
By Holmes Chan
Around 30 teachers in Hong Kong may be penalised for misconduct related to the ongoing pro-democracy protests, the Education Bureau has said.
The government body said that it received 106 complaints of teacher misconduct between June and mid-November in connection to the ongoing protests. The Bureau had concluded a “preliminary investigation” into 60 cases, and – in about 30 of them – the complaints were initially found to be substantiated.
The exact penalty has yet to be decided, the Bureau added.
Separately, the Education Bureau also told a school that it should “consider suspending” a teacher who was arrested over unlawful assembly and possession of dangerous weapons.
Police arrested 12 people – including a teacher and six students – in the early hours of Monday in Sheung Shui, who allegedly had items such as metal nails, an electric drill and Naptha.
The school should “exercise its duty as an employer and its duty to ensure student safety, and consider suspending the teacher,” the Education Bureau wrote in a letter to the school.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday expressed concern over the involvement of students and teachers in the demonstrations, which have entered their sixth month.
First related to an ill-fated extradition law, the protests have evolved into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police action, calls for democracy, and anger over Beijing’s encroachment.
Lam said she had told her education chief Kevin Yeung to follow up on the cases of teachers arrested.
“Violence entering the school campus would affect the school, parents and students… I hope that [schools] can stop students from joining illegal activities, and to stay away from sites of violence to ensure their own safety,” she added.
Lam said that 2,393 students have been arrested over the protests – about 40 per cent of the total arrest figure – and they came from over 300 secondary schools.
As for the total number of teachers arrested, the Education Bureau said that it would not comment since the cases involve ongoing legal proceedings.
“Aside from [the teachers] facing their legal responsibility, the Education Bureau will also follow up on the cases in accordance with the Education Ordinance. If the situation is serious, we may revoke the teacher’s license,” it added.
The Bureau added that it pays close attention to teachers’ professional conduct, because teachers are important role models for students and their words and behaviour should accord with society’s expectations regarding a teacher’s morality and professionalism.