A Tuen Mun school has apologised for mislabeling students with emotional and behavioural problems as triad members, drug users and sexually promiscuous, saying that it quoted incomplete descriptions of such students from Education Bureau documents.
The apology was issued on Sunday after Yan Oi Tong Chan Wong Suk Fong Memorial Secondary School principal Choi Kwok-kwong was criticised for his letter last month to the Legislative Council opposing its plan to move a primary school for such students to a site next to the Tuen Mun school.
Choi was criticised by lawmakers for citing the worst descriptions from the document on schools for social development – which may not be describing primary school students – giving the public a bad image of the school. Lawmakers said the document, written with respect to guidelines established in 1994, was outdated.
More consultation needed
The school’s governing committee said on Sunday that a letter to lawmakers was the only way to raise concerns over the relocation plan, as the Education Bureau had not responded to its opinions during the consultation process. Therefore, it cited the document from the bureau hoping to “provide more information to lawmakers for more comprehensive discussion”.
“We express our deepest apology for incompletely citing the contents of the Education Bureau’s documents, causing the public to have a wrong impression or negative understanding of a specific school or students,” it said.
It added that it had written to the Education Bureau to ask for more consultation in the community on the relocation plan, and it was willing to communicate with schools for social development to organise visits by teachers and parents.
The plan was to relocate Tung Wan Mok Law Shui Wah School from Shek Pik, Lantau Island to Tuen Mun, as the school’s facilities have been in use for 50 years and could not be rebuilt on the site due to conditions of the land lease.
The Lantau school’s principal Paul Cheuk Tak-kan told Apple Daily the Tuen Mun school did not need to apologise as “it was a misunderstanding all along”. He added that he hoped to communicate with the school to resolve the misunderstanding and that the plan will not be delayed.
Support for the plan
The relocation plan will be discussed by the Legislative Council’s Panel on Education on Monday.
The panel’s chairman Lam Tai-fai told Apple Daily that the consultation process was rushed, as the Tuen Mun school was notified in February and the District Council was consulted in March.
The bureau told the newspaper that it had visited schools in the area in Tuen Mun to introduce the plan, and it did not receive objections during consultations at the District Council.
Seven Tuen Mun district councillors from the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions and New People’s Party opposed the plan after the consultations in March.
Federation of Trade Union lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing said on a Commercial Radio programme on Monday that he will support the plan at the panel, adding that opposition from district councillors of his party was “a problem in communication” and that the Education Bureau should conduct more consultations.
Principals from some 20 primary and secondary schools in Tuen Mun have sent letters to the Legislative Council supporting the plan, saying that schools for social development have made contributions to mainstream schools.