The Education Bureau is looking into cases of teachers who were arrested during anti-government protests, after Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor called for the board to “seriously follow up” on the issue.
Lam also expressed concern over the arrest of 2,393 students during six months of social unrest.
The bureau is investigating 106 cases of teacher conduct related to the pro-democracy protests from June to the start of November. The authorities are considering imposing penalties on teachers in 30 of the incidents.
The bureau has also requested that a school consider suspending a teacher who was arrested on Monday. The teacher is believed to be from Hong Chi Morninglight School in Tuen Mun, an aided special school for students with intellectual disabilities.
Education Secretary Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said on Wednesday that penalties will be imposed according to established procedure.
“If a teacher is arrested or charged with a crime, they should declare it to the school and the school should decide if it is suitable for that teacher to continue employment at the school,” he said. “This might not necessarily be [as] punishment for the crime, but more about future management of the school and the safety of students.”
Responding to Lam and Yeung’s comments, education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said the wave of arrests and charges by the police is an abuse of power.
“We cannot judge if a person has done anything wrong based on the fact they were arrested,” Ip said. “School management must be very careful and fair when it comes to making a decision on this fact and ensure procedural justice is adhered to. [This includes] the presumption of innocence, the right to seek aid from a union, the right to legal advice, the right to appeal, and so on.
“This places unnecessary pressure on schools and affects their ability to handle these complaints fairly.”