TEACHERS should take charge of student delinquency problems themselves rather than report them to the police, an academic recommended yesterday. Reporting students to the police labelled them as young offenders and reduced their chances of re-integrating into society, said Dennis Wong Shing-wing, lecturer at City University's Department of Applied Social Studies. But his suggestion was criticised as unrealistic by participants at a seminar on youth behaviour problems. Some disagreed with Mr Wong's research which concluded juvenile delinquency in Tuen Mun was no longer serious and might have 'come to a full stop'. Mr Wong presented his study of youth behaviour and values in Tuen Mun to a Tuen Mun District Board working group on youth services. It sought views from about 2,000 Form One to Five students and discussed about 60 cases of behavioral problems transferred from social workers. Tuen Mun has been seen as a district with serious juvenile delinquency. Social workers say that is because it is isolated from urban areas and parents who have to travel a long way to work get no time to care for their children. But Mr Wong said: 'The findings are encouraging. Tuen Mun youngsters, according to our research, are not as bad as outsiders imagine. Most of the secondary students have not taken part in serious unruly behaviour.' Among the 2,000 secondary students, about 40 per cent said that in the past three months they had used foul language, 17 per cent had gambled, 13 per cent had been involved in fighting, 8.4 per cent smoked or drank alcohol, 3.5 per cent had run away from home, 2.1 per cent had robbed or stolen, 1.4 per cent had been threatened for money and 1.6 per cent had taken soft drugs, Despite the findings, Mr Wong said that '81.3 per cent of the students are very normal because many activities such as smoking and speaking foul language are minor and not very unruly'. He said: 'The situation would be much better if we adopted an offender-victim mediation scheme which has already been adopted in some Western countries. 'Teachers, social workers or a voluntary group can work as a mediator to help arrange for young, minor offenders to meet their victims and air their discontent and get relief instead of going to police and courts. Offenders discover what they have done wrong.' But Wong Kam-kit, a discipline master at Sun Hoi Directors' College in Wu King Estate for 10 years, challenged the survey and said youth problems were still serious in the district. He said: 'I don't think smoking and speaking foul language should be classified as minor and acceptable in school. We will punish students if they smoke in school. I don't think our moral standards should be lowered.'