Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen has questioned the motive of the Education Bureau in sending letters asking secondary schools to report on actions taken over students linked to anti-government agitation.
The authorities want the schools to report how they've followed up on students who were arrested or charged since last year's protests.
In the letter, the bureau also said schools should customise a long-term guidance and discipline plan for relevant students, to teach them correct values and to abide by the law.
Lawmaker Ip wondered if the aim of the bureau was to support schools or to monitor them.
He said schools have always been supporting these students, and that the EDB's approach of treating such students as though they have committed a serious crime is not helpful.
“The government should understand that many of the students who are being arrested are not really committing any crime, there has been abuse in arresting students and other people as well. Secondly, this is a kind of political expression and it’s different from ordinary types of crime," Ip said.
Ip said that the most important thing is for schools to show empathy and try their best to communicate with and understand these students.
He told RTHK's Frances Sit that if the EDB is trying to use this monitoring system to check whether schools are doing what the EDB is expecting them to do, "then this can be very negative", and that most people are "quite pessimistic" given how the EDB has handled some education matters.
Security secretary John Lee said in an exclusive interview with RTHK this week that he was "heartbroken" to see so many young people arrested during the anti-government protests.