Equal Opportunities Commission

Pupils in school for deaf allege abuse by teachers

Students from Chun Tok School report cases of verbal abuse and detention to equality watchdog

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 4:12am

Students have complained to the Equal Opportunities Commission about discrimination and bullying they say they faced from teachers in a school for the deaf in Diamond Hill.

A group of students, alumni and parents of Chun Tok School pupils yesterday asked the equality watchdog to look into five cases they said involved abuse and detention over two years.

It came as a teacher said the school last week received a threatening phone call, allegedly from a parent. About 30 complaints against the school, made by pupils past and present, have been exposed in the past months.

"We want the school to know that there are so many bullying cases. We are disappointed with how the principal handled the complaints," said Stella Chan Yuen-ting, 17.

The Form 5 pupil, who is hearing-impaired but not entirely deaf, had a disagreement with a teacher in April. She quoted the teacher as saying: "I have seen mentally disabled people. They are better than you."

Chan's mother said Chan complained to the principal, Lai Mi-har, about the remark, and several teachers later took her to a room to discuss the incident.

The teachers kept the girl in the room from 11am to 5pm that day. They allowed her to have her meals and use the washroom, but they did not let her return to class, the mother said.

Chan's classmate Winnie Cheung Wing-yin, 18, shared a similar experience after she complained about a teacher's insults. She was kept in a room for about seven hours. "They didn't let me go. I was very scared. I was afraid to go to school the next day. I cried," said Cheung.

Another student, Kwok Man-fai, 20, who graduated last year, said using sign language that a teacher had punished him by grabbing him and pushing him against a wall.

Chun Tok teacher Ng Siu-kei said records showed that teachers did not stop the pupils from leaving the room. The pupils wanted to stay and talk to the teachers, he said.

Ng said a school janitor last week received a call to the school. The caller, who claimed to be a parent, said "the school would not come to a good end", he said. The school reported the matter to the police.

The Education Bureau is currently investigating 20 complaints against Chun Tok School.