Ip Kin-yuen speaks to RTHK’s Janice Wong

The vice-chairman of the pro-democracy Professional Teachers’ Union (PTU) said on Thursday that it maintains a neutral stance on a class boycott planned for next week.

Ip Kin-yuen, who is also the education sector lawmaker, said on Thursday that whether secondary school or university students decide to boycott classes as part of the anti-extradition bill protests is entirely their own decision.

“We’re neutral, we don’t support, we don’t discourage, it’s up to the students,” he told RTHK’s Janice Wong.

Ip said the PTU had not yet decided whether teachers will take part in a two-day general strike next week, saying if the situation continues to deteriorate, the union may organise a teachers’ strike, but he did not elaborate.

The lawmaker also urged the SAR government to ensure the safety of teachers and students who have to cross the border to attend activities on the mainland.

“Nowadays, I think we are increasingly worried about bringing students crossing the border. Because there are a lot of unprecedented checks on teachers or students’ mobile phones, to see their pictures, to check their Facebook, etc, and that might bring a lot of trouble to teachers and students,” Ip said.

“We have written to the Secretary for Education and asked him to make sure that teachers and students will be safe,” he added.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools, Teddy Tang, said some schools have received notification from students that they will take part in a class boycott when the new school year starts next week.

But he said he’s confident that schools are able to handle this, saying teachers can arrange “different activities” for those students.

Tang also said schools had been told to watch out for any quarrels or bullying among students, especially those with parents who are police officers. He said political debates should not be held in schools, and students shouldn’t have to share their political views, but they must respect each other.