A teachers’ union said it has received 1,700 requests for assistance from teachers and school staff in the past two years.
These included 790 in June and July this year, which was an increase of over 30 percent compared to the same period last year.
Hong Kong Education Workers Union chairman Wong Kim-ho lamented the power held by boards and management teams in schools, saying their extent infringed on teachers’ and staff rights.
“When schools become battlefields, teachers lose mental focus as they have to cope with management teams. Improper personnel handling methods weaken teaching effectiveness and impact on students’ well-being, hurting a school and its students’ development,” he said.
The present practice at schools that have received a complaint about a teacher is often for the boards to assign the probe to the principal, which often leads to “the principal investigating himself or herself.”
Wong said that these dispute cases affect the mental health of the workers.
In another instance, Daisy Law, who worked at a Shek Kip Mei secondary school for more than 20 years, was subjected to disrespectful treatment. Law was repeatedly asked to delete or alter meeting records based on the principal’s take.
When she did so, albeit unwillingly, leading to the school board calling the principal to say a record did not align with the facts, Law was accused of making the mistakes, which Wong said amounted to defaming an employee and damaging her professional reputation and prospects.
Law was then often verbally abused, forcing her to take sick leave.
When she was on leave, management changed her internal email password and took away the school’s safe deposit key from her drawer.
In another complaint, a school on Hong Kong Island delayed the return of provident funds to a retired teacher.
Mo, who retired on September 1, only received his retirement dues last month.
In Mo’s final year, he discovered that a current school director had violated a regulation on nomination of an independent manager in the school management committee under the Education Ordinance.
Under the regulation, family members are not allowed to be in the same management committee, but two people in the committee were sisters, prompting Mo to lodge a complaint with the Education Bureau.
Also, when he discovered an issue with the provident fund and demanded an explanation from the school, no one addressed his complaints.
Instead, Mo ended up receiving a warning letter issued by the school supervisor.