Protesters call for suspension of teacher Alpais Lam
A small group of protesters arrived at a Fanling primary school on Monday morning to petition for the suspension of teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze, claiming she had set a bad example for students after swearing at police during a protest in July.
The four-man group arrived shortly after the first bell of the school year went off, amid a heavy police presence and support staff from the Education Bureau. Potential clashes were expected between Lam’s supporters and detractors.
A representative for the group, who only referred to himself by the alias “Chiu Tsz-long”, said the group was calling for Lam to apologise to police officers that she verbally abused in Mongkok in July after accusing them of mishandling a clash between supporters and critics of the Falun Gong. A video of the feud went viral over the internet.
Chiu said Lam was “suffering from a personality disorder” and demanded her school, Pui Ling School of the Precious Blood, suspend her until she recovered from it.
“We want the principal of Pui Ling to suspend Lam until she recovers from her personality disorder and issues a formal apology to the police in Mongkok,” said Chiu, stressing that the group was not asking for her to be sacked. “We are not targeting Lam personally … This is an issue of ethics and human character.”
But most parents of Pui Ling students did not see a problem with Lam’s actions.
“Ms Lam was just voicing an opinion just like anyone has the right to in Hong Kong,” said one parent, surnamed Yuen, whose daughter enters primary three at the school this year. “I think this has been exaggerated. I hope everyone will just let this issue go and think about the students’ well-being.”
Another parent surnamed So, said: “We are all human. I can accept this because everyone swears once in a while. I don’t think there is a need for Lam to resign.” Other parents said Lam was a good teacher.
Chiu, who claimed to be neither political nor party-affiliated, slammed the pan-democrats for pushing him to issue the petition and called the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union the “devil”. The union recently criticised Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s decision to launch an investigation into Lam.
Chiu denied a reporter’s allegation that he was seen at a recent event organised by pro-government group Voice of Loving Hong Kong.
Police confirmed on Friday that they had received applications from two “radically pro-establishment” groups, to rally outside the school on Monday. The protest was cancelled on Sunday and a petition was organised instead.
In a statement, school principal Wendy Fung Man-yi said a crisis management group had been formed in the last week to deal with the issue. She said the group was consulting with parents, the Education Bureau and other professional groups.
Fung said the teachers would discuss the issue with students in a “positive manner” and that it would provide “valuable life experience”. She urged the public to let students get on with their normal school lives.