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A school filled with fear and abuse is worse than no school

China Daily HK | Updated: 2019-08-22 11:25

Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, China. [Photo/VCG]

The anti-government protest campaign is showing no sign of abating. While the summer holiday will soon end, when all elementary and secondary schools are scheduled to reopen on Sept 2, many parents are deeply worried about the poisonous political atmosphere in Hong Kong. They have urged the special administrative region government to take whatever measures necessary to ensure their children's right to receive education free of ill-motivated political harassment. Without a doubt, there is a real and present danger facing all elementary and secondary school students across the city, and any lapse of vigilance can have dire consequences.

Growing concerns of parents over their children's education and personal safety are well justified by the fact that some anti-government and anti-China groups are planning to extend their disruptive campaign to schools and make it impossible for secondary school students to go back to school as usual. They can do it because some secondary school teachers have joined their illegal anti-government campaign and planned to bring their students along for the "ride". As a matter of fact, some teachers already have persuaded their students to join protests and even participate in violent attacks on the police and government facilities. That is why the youngest rioters arrested by police so far are only 13 and 14 years old.

The ringleaders and organizers of the illegal campaign are obviously enjoying the destruction, physical injuries and even bloodshed that their handiwork has caused so far. So much so, in fact, that they have no reason whatsoever to call it quits now; hence the calls in social media for "boycotting schools" when the new school year begins. Worse is the grave danger of politically motivated bullying, both emotionally and physically, that many, if not all, children of police officers may face.

Many people have expressed deep concerns on social media in response to discussions about involving secondary school students in the illegal campaign. The possibilities of various terrible scenarios happening on school campuses are simply too strong to be ignored or dismissed. They believe the organizers of the boycott-school campaign will not be satisfi ed merely with keeping students away from classes, and may have more sinister plans for the innocent teenagers.

Such views may sound overly alarmist, but they are far from being unrealistic. This is why the SAR government, particularly the police, must take precautions that will give parents of secondary school students a good reason to send their children back to schools as usual. Hong Kong cannot a ord to let anyone harm the younger generation any more than what has already been done because the instigators will stop at nothing to create a constitutional crisis.

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