A Hong Kong high school has suspended one of its teachers after he was accused of forcing students who turned in homework late to film forced-confession-style videos, which he then later played back for the rest of the school.
Ming Pao reports that the teacher at the center of the allegations, surnamed Lee, forced at least 10 students at the Ju Ching Chu Secondary School in Yuen Long to film such videos, and that at least three were shown to students during a school assembly.
The newspaper received complaints from parents that some of the students who had their videos screened felt humiliated after being laughed at by their peers. Some had become emotionally unstable, were refusing to go to school, and had even started having suicidal thoughts.
On.cc reported that one parent found a flier from Lee in their child’s school bag describing a “moral cultivation team,” and telling the student to attend a “disciplinary hearing” on a given day. The flier also stated: “This is highly confidential and shouldn’t be disclosed without permission. Anyone who violates this regulation will be severely punished.” (So, yeah, everything was surely on the up and up.)
One parent told the outlet that after asking their child about the letter, they were told it was given to students who handed in their assignments late, and that during the disciplinary hearing — which took place in a detention room — the videos would be filmed.
Responding to inquiries by the newspaper, the school confirmed that Lee had asked 10 students who handed in homework late to film a brief video, each one lasting from a few seconds to around 20 seconds.
School management maintained they were unaware of the incidents, but confirmed that at least three of the videos were played at a school-wide assembly. They added that in the videos, some students described improving their poor homework performance, but none actually involved students confessing to mistakes.
The school also said that they didn’t grant permission for Lee to set up the “moral cultivation team,” and that it has since been disbanded.
They added that they asked Lee to delete the videos, and that he has since been suspended.
The Education Bureau said it had not received any complaints from parents over this specific case, but that they had been in touch with the school and reminded them to take students’ self-esteem into account when handling disciplinary issues.