MY TAKE
My Take
by

Ideologues should leave children out of their arguments

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 August, 2013, 3:20am

We have already politicised our university campuses. Their students are among our most politically engaged activists. Let's stop at that. Let's not turn our primary and secondary schools into ideological battlefields as well. Younger students are, of course, free to take part in politics and protests, though presumably their parents should still have a say in that. But schools should not be targets for ideologues and busybodies.

Since Sunday's mayhem in Mong Kok in which rival groups clashed over a minor row between schoolteacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze and the police, her school has been inundated with e-mails and phone calls by people venting their opinions and anger, while banners both for and against Lam have appeared outside the school.

But really, people, this is a school, not a radio phone-in talk show. Let's show some consideration and restraint.

An award-winning teacher, Lam was videotaped in July interfering with the police and shouting foul language because she was upset over their handling of a dispute between the Falun Gong and the Hong Kong Youth Care Association, a pro-government group. The video went viral, causing endless debates in newspapers and the blogosphere between pro-Beijing forces on one hand and anti-government and pro-democracy activists on the other. All these culminated in Sunday's confrontation.

Lam has apologised twice to the school, its parents and pupils for her behaviour. She has asked for calm so she and the school can be left alone to do what they are supposed to do: educate children.

This is not the first time ideologues have targeted schools. During the row over the government's failed national education plan, some parents formed squads - and Jimmy Lai Chee-ying's Apple Daily ran a hotline for people - to rat on schools that might try to "brainwash" children. Never mind that some might actually teach legitimate academic subjects about China or take educational field trips to the mainland. Now, some see even primary schools as fair game in an ideological fight.

Stop this Mong Kok insanity please. Think about the children before you try to score an ideological point.

Leave the kids alone.