Students strike a defiant note in protest song row - RTHK
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Students strike a defiant note in protest song row

2020-06-12 HKT 16:16
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  • Students strike a defiant note in protest song row
  • Some alumni members of the school also joined the protest in solidarity. Photo: RTHK
    Some alumni members of the school also joined the protest in solidarity. Photo: RTHK
Joanne Wong reports
Police on Friday afternoon dispersed dozens of secondary school students who formed a human chain outside their school in Kowloon Tong over action against a music teacher who allowed the protest anthem 'Glory to Hong Kong' to be sung at an exam.

The students of Heung To Middle School had chanted slogans criticising the school authorities, saying they treated the teacher unfairly after they decided not to extend her contract, while accusing them of spreading "white terror".

Many of the students turned their backs to TV cameras to protect their identity, while some alumni also showed up in solidarity with the protesters.

A large group of police officers arrived at the scene an hour after the protest began around 1.30pm, warning the students they were breaking social distancing rules. The students then dispersed.

One participant in the protest said she was prepared to be kicked out of the school or given a demerit, but she feels she needs to stand up for the teacher.

“She is a very experienced teacher who’s been teaching for 12 years. I had also been taught by her for four years. She mixes in well with my classmates and we think her sacking is very unreasonable."

"She never mentioned anything political during class and she’d stayed neutral,” said the student, who gave her name as Cora.

The school has not responded to RTHK's request for comments about the events.

The school is said to have decided not to renew the teacher’s contract after she allowed students to perform “Glory to Hong Kong” at an examination.

In an email to the staff and students on Monday, the teacher said that the school informed her that her contract would not be renewed, but did not give a reason why.

The school also sent an email to parents on Thursday describing itself as a "patriotic school by tradition" which is guiding students to "love the country and identify themselves as Chinese".

It also said that one factor that it considered when deciding whether or not to renew a teacher's contract was to see if he or she can implement the school's principles.

A student who was part of the group of singers said the teacher didn't stop them from choosing the song but reminded them before the exam to pick carefully which song they wish to play.

The boy also said the teacher announced any student who feel uncomfortable with the song can leave the classroom temporarily.

On Thursday, Education Secretary Kevin Yeung said that students should not sing songs that are "political propaganda" like Glory to Hong Kong.