Just four protesters call for teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze's suspension
Four activists wanting teacher suspended are outnumbered by police on first day of school
Police were prepared for the worst outside a Fanling primary school yesterday, but in the end just four protesters turned up to call for teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze to be suspended.
They say Lam set a bad example for pupils when she verbally abused police during a Mong Kok protest in July.
The group arrived just after the first bell of the school year and was greeted by officers and Education Bureau staff who feared a repeat of last month's clashes over Lam's behaviour. That was despite the cancellation of a larger, organised rally.
A spokesman for the protesters, using the alias Chiu Tsz-lung, said they wanted Lam to apologise to the officers she attacked in Mong Kok in July. Lam swore at the officers after accusing them of mishandling a clash between supporters and critics of the Falun Gong spiritual movement.
Chiu claimed Lam was "suffering from a personality disorder" and demanded the Pui Ling School of the Precious Blood suspend her until she is well.
"We want the principal of Pui Ling to suspend Lam until she recovers from her disorder and issues a formal apology to the police in Mong Kok," said Chiu, adding that they were not seeking Lam's dismissal but for her to be disciplined.
"We are not targeting Lam personally … This is an issue of ethics and human character."
But most of the parents that the Post spoke to outside Pui Ling yesterday said they supported Lam. "She was just voicing her opinion," said one parent. "I think this has been greatly exaggerated and I hope everyone will just let this issue go."
Another parent said: "We're all human and everyone swears once in a while. I don't think there is any need for Lam to resign."
In a statement, principal Wendy Fung Man-yi said a crisis management group had been set up to deal with the issue. It was consulting parents, the bureau and other professional groups, she said, adding that teachers would discuss the issue with pupils in a "positive manner".
But a Primary Four pupil taught by Lam said her teacher should resign "because she used swear words". Lam, who is currently on leave, was quick to respond on RTHK. "Pupils have the right to express their feelings," Lam said. "I'm glad they're not saying good things about me just because I'm their teacher."
Lam also revealed that the saga had left her feeling so stressed that she had to take sleeping pills and was having nightmares. But she said the allegations that she suffered from a personality disorder amounted to "political persecution" and character assassination.
On her Facebook page yesterday, Lam said she was disappointed with the education sector for its "atmosphere of silence and weakness".
Chiu said he was not affiliated with any political party or a member of any pro-establishment group. He rejected a claim he had attended an event organised by staunch government supporters, the Voice of Loving Hong Kong.