Education Secretary Kevin Yeung says school heads should be prepared to call the police if pupils show serious disrespect for the national anthem, but only if there is no other way to solve the problem.
Yeung was speaking on Saturday, two days after the Legislative Council passed a law forbidding disrespect or misuse of the "March of the Volunteers". The penalties include fines of up to HK$50,000 and a jail sentence of up to three years.
The minister said the focus of schools should be to ensure that pupils develop respect for the anthem.
But, he added: "If there are incidents that happen that show disrespect for our national anthem, and the seriousness of the incident is so big that it will affect the operation of the school and/or affect other students as well, then the school, if they have no other option, they have to call in enforcement agents to help restore order.
"That, I believe, is quite exceptional, but schools will make their decisions when these incidents actually happen."
In 2017, the National People's Congress approved a move to add the mainland's national anthem law into Annex III of Hong Kong's Basic Law, with legislative councillors given the job of enacting it locally.
The law will be gazetted on June 12.