Teachers say principal forced them to paint mural at her home, perform other menial tasks during school suspension

Teachers at the kindergarten, located in Tai Kok Tsui, say they were forced to paint a mural at the school principal’s home. Photos: Apple Daily
Teachers at the kindergarten, located in Tai Kok Tsui, say they were forced to paint a mural at the school principal’s home. Photos: Apple Daily

Teachers at a kindergarten in Tai Kok Tsui say their principal forced them to carry out personal tasks for her, including painting a mural at her home, during school suspensions due to COVID-19.

The principal reportedly recruited three teachers to work on the painting at her house in Kam Tsin Village in Sheung Shui for three weeks from late January to February.

Ordered to paint the nature-themed mural, decorated with colorful flowers and birds, during work hours until 5 p.m., the teachers said in a Sunday press conference they had to use their own time to prepare lesson materials for their classes.

In official records, the principal, Wu Chiu-ha, defended the mural-painting as “training” for a “school beautification pilot scheme.” She told Ming Pao that the teachers needed the practice as they are “not very good” at drawing.

Read more: Woman admits attacking teacher who denied son recess in Hong Kong

Wu allegedly also forced eight teachers to lay out and print hundreds of copies of her own literary work using printers at school, much of which was political—criticizing the city’s protest movement—in nature.

Coconuts has reached out to the kindergarten for comment.

The teachers also recounted multiple incidents in which they witnessed Wu physically abusing the kindergarten’s students.

One of them, who identified herself as Teacher B, said she saw Wu shaking a child violently and hitting a child who did not want to eat in 2019. Wu used a spoon to force feed the child, and while the incident was reported to the school management, nothing was done about it.

Another teacher, Teacher C, said she watched Wu punishing a special needs child when in-person lessons restarted last fall. Having caught the student skipping class and playing on a slide, Wu grabbed the student by his legs and yanked him about four or five meters back to his classroom, his back dragging across the floor.

Wu is one of the co-founders, and the current chairperson, of the Hong Kong Kindergarten Association.

Yau Tsim Mong district councilor Owan Li, who is assisting the teachers, denounced the kindergarten’s management and said the school’s operations clearly lacked oversight.

“We will be contacting the Education Bureau and demanding that they handle this matter seriously,” Li said.

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CITY: HONG KONGCATEGORY: NEWS

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