A Hong Kong primary school has decided not to interfere with a teacher’s political views on the anti-government protests, despite pressure from police unions.
Yuen Long Public Middle School Alumni Association Primary School made its stance clear on Thursday after four police groups wrote to its principal, Roger Chan Chi-hung, to complain about the Choi Tsz-hee’s social media postings, and copied the letter to city leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, and education minister Kevin Yeung Yun-hung.
The school said its school management committee had held a special meeting over Choi’s comments and its members unanimously concluded the school should not interfere with comments made on his personal account because they were private in nature.
“After the school’s investigation, the teacher has deleted the related photos on social media and stopped operating his account,” the school said in a letter to parents and members of the public.
“He has clearly stated that he never expressed his personal political view, or made any relevant comments inside the school or in front of students.”
Choi promised not to express his personal views on campus, it said.
Since the protests sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill gained traction in June, tensions have risen between police and some Hong Kong residents, amid anger over perceived excessive use of force during demonstrations.
The force has complained of abuse by members of the public, and the use of doxxing, in which the personal details of officers and their families are shared online.
Earlier, the Hong Kong Junior Police Officers Association made an appeal to the education and labour bureaus for more support for officers’ children, with its chairman reporting officers’ families had experienced bullying, some of it which it claimed had been encouraged by teachers.
Last week, four police staff associations – representing superintendents, inspectors, overseas inspectors and rank-and-file officers – accused the Yuen Long school’s teacher of promoting bullying.
The associations, whose respective chairmen signed the letter, attached four screenshots of what appeared to be Choi’s Facebook and Instagram posts.
In one post, he teased a parent who amended personal information filed to the school by changing their occupation from police officer to insurance agent.
“There is no need to worry, I am very professional,” the post read.
Another screenshot showed a post, which he had shared, that included a photo of an officer and his family, including a wife and three children.
The photo was pixilated to obscure the people’s faces, though it was unclear whether it had been obscured in the original post or edited by the associations.
The associations urged the principal to follow up on Choi’s behaviour, and prevent him from influencing students, adding that schools should be free of politics.
In the school’s letter released on Thursday, the school reminded all teaching staff to be careful with their words and behaviour and to uphold the principle of education professionalism.
“Not to make comments that hurt [the teachers’] professional image, and not to bring politics into the school,” it said.
It reiterated school was a place for students to learn and it needed to make the interest of students its main consideration.