21 April 2019
Tung Wan Mok Law Shui Wah School in Shek Pik is proposed to be relocated to Tuen Mun under a government plan. Photo: RTHK
Tung Wan Mok Law Shui Wah School in Shek Pik is proposed to be relocated to Tuen Mun under a government plan. Photo: RTHK

Principal regrets remarks on schools for problem students

A secondary school principal has apologized for controversial remarks on pupils with emotional or behavioral problems, but gave no indication that he will reconsider his stand on opposing a government plan to relocate a facility for such students next to his own school.

Choi Kwok-kwong, who heads the Yan Oi Tong Chan Wong Suk Fong Memorial Secondary School in Tuen Mun, said in a statement Sunday that the words he used in relation to a school for social development were inappropriate, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

The principal said his descriptions of problem students were based on selective references from a 2011 document of the Education Bureau, and that the words may have conveyed wrong or negative impression on the pupils.

Choi’s statement came after he faced severe criticism for casting pupils of social development schools in negative light and suggesting that such students be kept away from his own wards. 

In a letter sent to the Legislative Council last month, Choi wrote that a school for social development only takes students with emotional and behavioral problems such as drug abuse, cult worshipping, sexual promiscuity, suicidal tendencies, psychosomatic disorders, etc.

Given this, he said that he opposes a plan for relocation of the Tung Wan Mok Law Shui Wah School in Shek Pik, Lantau Island to a site next to the Yan Oi Tong school.

Tung Wan Mok Law Shui Wah is a primary school for the so-called problem students. 

Choi expressed regret Sunday for his comments on the special school but he did not say anything about altering his stance on opposing the relocation plan.

Cheuk Tak-kan, principal of the Lantau school, said he felt the whole controversy was due to a misunderstanding which should be resolved through better communication.

He said he hopes the relocation plan of the primary school will not be delayed.

Some pan-democratic lawmakers and several principals of schools for social development said in a joint press conference on Sunday that Choi’s remarks, in his letter to the Education Bureau, have caused hurt to the school pupils and their parents.

Lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen, who represents the education functional constituency, slammed Choi’s comments as being biased, and also called the Education Bureau’s document “outdated”.

He urged a revision of the document, Apple Daily reported.

Labour Party lawmaker Cheung Chiu-hung, meanwhile, said Choi’s remarks were discriminatory.

The Equal Opportunities Commission said Sunday that it will follow up on the incident.

The Legislative Council’s panel on education is due to hold a meeting today to discuss whether the Lantau school relocation should proceed.

Eighteen principals issued a joint letter where they outlined the contributions made over the years by schools for social development.

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