Alpais Lam

School issues formal penalty to rude teacher who triggered Mong Kok protests

Board takes action against Alpais Lam for 'damaging school's reputation' with attack on police but asks public to give her second chance

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 August, 2013, 12:50pm

The teacher who shouted abuse at police officers in Mong Kok and triggered a political and social frenzy will be penalised, her school board said yesterday.

And the Education Bureau has already met and issued Alpais Lam Wai-sze with an official penalty notice. The school refused to reveal the details of the penalty, citing privacy reasons, but Lam said her contract with the school would not be affected.

A primary school teacher at Pui Ling School of the Precious Blood, Lam triggered huge media interest when a video of her swearing at police officers over their handling of a dispute between Falun Gong and the pro-Beijing group Youth Care Association was circulated online.

"As Lam's inappropriate behaviour severely damaged the professional image of teachers as well as our school's reputation, the committee decided to penalise the teacher and report it to the bureau," the school management committee said in a statement. It said the school regretted Lam's behaviour and hoped she would issue another apology.

It also called on the public to give Lam a second chance since she had already apologised to the school, students and parents and promised there would be no repeat of the incident. And it asked that the school be left alone.

"Our school has been bombarded with calls, e-mails and letters about this and our colleagues have been really busy dealing with them. It's time to stop. Please let our school get back to its normal operation," it said.

The school's statement came 11 days after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's remarks in his first town hall meeting, where he urged the education minister to submit a report on Lam's case.

Lam, who won a top award for teaching in 2011, said she would accept any penalties and was sorry for all the pressure placed on the school. But last night on her Facebook page, she appeared to be pondering her future. "To quit, or not to quit?" she wrote. "I used to have a contribution to make. Why am I being treated like this? … What's the use in staying?" An hour later she had amassed 200 comments, most of them urging her to stay in the job.

A penalty might range from a verbal and written warning to dismissal, depending on the severity of the case, said education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen.

An Education Bureau spokesman said the bureau respected the school's decision and urged the public to stop sending e-mails to the school and making calls "for the students' sake".

Lam's father, Lam Sum-shing, believed it was the pressure from Leung that led to the school's decision.

A source close the government said the bureau would summarise and analyse the documents handed to them by the school and believed the report could be submitted to Leung by the end of this month.