Officials must out punished teachers, High Court told - RTHK
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Officials must out punished teachers, High Court told

2021-05-20 HKT 17:33
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  • Lawyers told the High Court that parents have a right to know about the teachers employed by a school before they decide where to send their children. Photo: RTHK
    Lawyers told the High Court that parents have a right to know about the teachers employed by a school before they decide where to send their children. Photo: RTHK
A group founded by former Chief Executive CY Leung told the High Court on Thursday that the authorities must reveal the names of teachers found guilty of professional misconduct, as parents have a right to know this information when they choose schools for their children.

The group, 803 Funds, brought a judicial review after the Education Bureau refused its request to identify teachers found to have committed wrongdoing in relation to anti-government protests, or release the names of the schools they worked for.

Lawyers representing 803 Funds told the court that the authorities should ask teachers and schools for their permission and consider disclosing their details on a case by case basis.

They argued that it is important that parents know about the teachers employed by a school before they decide where to send their children.

The lawyers added that the bureau should not assume that all teachers who commit misconduct want to remain anonymous, saying some might see it as a "badge of honour".

And if the identity of the teachers must be kept confidential, the names of their schools should be made public at the very least, they said.

But justice Anderson Chow said once a school's name is disclosed, parents could "go to any lengths" to identify individual teachers.

Government lawyers representing the education secretary added that schools would be stigmatised and this would be unfair to them if they had got rid of the teachers in question.

They also said that teachers who submit their personal details for disciplinary proceedings would not expect this information to be made public.

The education sector would lose trust in the bureau and might not cooperate in future disciplinary matters if it disclosed the teachers’ information after sanctioning them, the lawyers said.

The bureau earlier said that it had substantiated 160 of 269 complaints it received about alleged professional misconduct of teachers from mid-June 2019 to the end of 2020.

Three teachers were deregistered, while more than 80 received reprimands and warning letters.

The court will hand down its ruling at a later date.