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Editorial : Hate has no place in schools

【明報專訊】HONG KONG is in turmoil. As the new school term is about to begin, the mood of nervousness in society has seeped into schools. Some secondary students have organised an alliance for the boycott of classes, saying that students from more than ninety schools will participate. The Education Bureau and many schools have stated clearly that they are against the boycott. It is difficult to predict how things will develop.

Another unpredictable issue is bullying in schools. Recently the private information of many police officers and people of different political views has been uploaded to the internet. What has also been made public include the names, photographs and schools of their children. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data has mentioned that the photo of a family whose information had been doxed was uploaded onto the internet, below which was a message reading "Get a gunny sack ready for the pickup". Furthermore, some netizens have called on others to gather outside disciplined services quarters on the first day of school to "escort" the children of police officers to school and "remember their appearances". Some netizens openly incite bullying on campus, calling on other students to identify their "targets" as soon as possible in the new semester and bully classmates who have police officers or police supporters in their families. Some have even posted a "handbook for bullying" on the internet detailing all sorts of ways to bully their classmates, ranging in severity from throwing rubbish at them as an insult to pouring hot cup noodles and raining punches and kicks on them. The tactics mentioned even include the planting of stolen items on their classmates and accusing them of trumped‑up charges.

Some netizens have stated bluntly that they have instigated the bullying of the children of police officers not only to take revenge on the police force but also to exert pressure on their police officer parents. The aim is to force these police officers to resign for their families as a way to weaken the police force. To put it plainly, it is a means of struggle that holds the children of police officers to ransom. Some might dismiss these threats as some "light‑hearted talk" by netizens that does not have to be taken seriously. However, it has to be said that many radical proposals that did not look feasible at the beginning have indeed been turned into real action over the past two months. Bullying in schools is nothing new. Some schools and teachers have experience in dealing with it. However, handling disagreements among a handful of students is incomparable to handling systematic, organised and motivated bullying. Apart from children of police officers, the possibility that other students are ostracised or targeted in school because of all sorts of political reasons cannot be ruled out. The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data expects that the number of cases in which children or young people have their private information "doxed" will rise after the beginning of school. Schools and parents have to monitor the situation closely and intervene as soon as possible to prevent matters from worsening.

Schools should be where students grow healthily. Sponsoring bodies, schools and parents have to work together to ensure that every student can feel at ease at school and learn happily without feeling worry or fear. Parents should remind children that they should not take part in any kind of bullying. They should talk any problems over with teachers they can trust or social workers stationed at their schools. Schools should treat the protection of students as the top priority. If need be, they can handle academic issues in a more liberal approach temporarily to give teachers more time to get in touch with students. Front‑line teachers should pay close attention to interactions between students to check for any abnormal situations. At the same time they should prevent their personal emotions or political stances from affecting their teaching work.

明報社評2019.08.30:抵制起底欺凌 不要「仇恨學園」

香港局勢動盪,開學在即,社會緊張不安的氣氛也滲進校園。有中學生發起罷課聯盟,表示已有超過90間學校的學生參與。教育局和不少學校表明反對罷課,事態發展難以預測。

同樣難以預測的,還有校園欺凌情况。最近網上出現不少有關警員或持不同政見人士的個人資料,連他們子女的名字、相片、就讀學校亦被公開,私隱專員公署便提到,有網民上載一張被「起底」的家庭照,下面留言「麻包袋接放學準備」;另外,亦有網民發起於開學日在紀律部隊宿舍外一齊「保護」警員子女上學及「記住佢哋嘅樣」。有網民公開煽動校園欺凌,呼籲其他學生在開學後盡快找出「目標」,欺凌有家屬當警察又或支持警方的同學,有人甚至在網上張貼「欺凌手冊」,羅列各種招數,輕則向目標投擲垃圾侮辱,重則杯麵淋頭拳打腳踢,甚至插贓嫁禍誣告他人。

有網民不諱言,發起欺凌警察子女,除了是要報復警方,也是為了向身為警察的家長施壓,目的是要逼他們為了家人辭職,務求打擊警隊,說得直接一點,就是變相以警察子女作為要脅鬥爭手段。也許有人會說,這不過是一些網民「戲言」,毋須當真,不過話說回來,過去兩個月,網上很多原先看似不太可能成真的激進呼籲,最終都化為了實際行動。雖然校園欺凌並非什麼新鮮事,部分學校和老師可能都有應對經驗,然而處理個別學生糾紛,跟應付有系統、有組織、有動機的欺凌,難以相提並論。除了警察子女,也不排除有其他學童,因為各種政治原因,在校內受到白眼或針對。私隱專員預期,開學後兒童及青少年被「起底」的個案會上升,校方和家長需要密切留意,及早介入,防止事態惡化。

學校應該是學童健康成長的地方,辦學團體、校方和家長應當攜手協力,確保每一名學生都能夠安心上學、愉快學習,不會在校園感到不安和恐懼。家長應提醒子女,不要參與任何欺凌行為,若有問題應找可信任的老師或駐校社工商量;校方應以保護學生為優先,如有需要可考慮暫時寬鬆處理課業事宜,讓老師有更多時間接觸學生;前線教師應密切留意校園內學生之間的互動,看看有否異樣,同時亦要避免讓個人情緒和政治立場影響教學工作。

■Glossary

escort : to go with sb to protect or guard them or to show them the way

plant sth (on sb) : to hide sth, especially sth illegal, in sb's clothing, possessions, etc. so that when it is found it will look as though they committed a crime

light‑hearted : not intended to be serious

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