The Education Bureau has launched an investigation into allegations that a Hong Kong kindergarten headmistress told teachers to take photos of a student with special educational needs who stripped off in class.

Former district councillor Owan Li told HKFP on Monday he had received an anonymous email about the incident last month, and had confirmed it with residents in the neighbourhood, as well as with two teachers at the kindergarten.

school classroom
File photo: Tom Grundy.

Li said in a Facebook post on Sunday that the incident happened in late June, when the girl with special needs took all her clothes off following an emotional meltdown.

After the headmistress came to hear of the incident she told a teacher to take pictures of the naked student. She explained that the photos could be used as evidence in case of any complaint, to show that it was the pupil who had lost control, according to the email which Li received.

The teacher allegedly took photos of the child with the school’s phone after other teachers refused to do so and were reportedly reprimanded by the headmistress for their refusal.

“I was outraged at the headmistress’s inability to protect students, serious abuse of children, and giving students an indelible shadow after I received this email,” said Li in the Facebook post.

Owan Li
Former district councillor Owan Li and teachers from the kindergarten in a press conference in March. Photo: Owan Li, via Facebook.

The education bureau told HKFP it had sent officers to the school concerned and met the headmistress and the teachers involved.

Previous controversies

This is the second controversy in which the kindergarten was involved in a period of five months. Teachers accused the headmistress of misusing the kindergarten’s resources by asking them to paint a mural at her home.

HKFP called the kindergarten concerned, but a staff member said it had no comment. It has also reached out to the headmistress.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.