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Hong Kong courts

Mother demands apology from teacher after inquest ruled son killed himself after begging not to be punished for skipping school

  • Three-day inquest heard 16-year-old Leung Cheuk-ming begged teacher Po Chi-keung to let him off
  • Mother Zhang Xiulan says she can never forgive TWGHs Kap Yan Directors’ College teacher unless he apologises
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2018, 9:28pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2018, 10:32pm

A bereaved mother said she deserved an apology after an inquest on Wednesday ruled her teenage son leapt to his death after begging a teacher in a late night call not to punish him for skipping class.

Zhang Xiulan, the mother of Leung Cheuk-ming, was waiting to hear from TWGHs Kap Yan Directors’ College teacher Po Chi-keung, she said, following the Coroner’s Court ruling.

On Wednesday, five jurors found Leung, 16, had committed suicide after he was found on a flower bed near his Tin Shui Wai home on March 21.

The three-day inquest heard that shortly before jumping, Leung was heard begging Po for a second chance when the teacher told him he could get a major demerit for skipping school that day.

“I beg you, please let me off. I will change next time,” Leung had begged Po, the inquest heard.

“If he does not say sorry I can never forgive him,” Zhang said, adding that when Po was called to testify on Monday, it was the first time she had seen the teacher since her son’s death.

Leung Ching-wah, the boy’s father, said the school’s reluctance to let them confront Po led him to write to the Coroner’s Court and ask for the inquest so his wife could face the teacher.

The jury recommended that teachers should not jump to talks of punishment before they had found pupils to be at fault.

A more transparent penalty system that was clear to pupils and parents, and stronger communication between parents and teachers was also suggested.

The inquest heard that after Leung was rushed to the hospital, Po struggled to find superiors to give him instructions. Meanwhile the mother testified that she was not able to reach Po at one point.

The jurors recommended the school better divide work between teachers and social workers so parents know who to go to in the future.

The tearful mother, again, on Wednesday reflected on the last words of her son, who left a letter saying he did not know how to repay his parents. “I will remember it till the day I die,” she said.

The school, in Sheung Shui, could not be reached for comments.

A spokesman from the Education Bureau sent condolences to the parents and said the department had provided help to the school at the time.

“The Education Bureau is aware of the findings of the Coroner’s Court and will study the recommendations the jurors have made for appropriate follow-up actions,” he said.