A primary school teacher who assaulted a 10-year-old dyslexic student twice for failing to submit assignments has been given 80 hours of community service.
Fanling Court heard Ng Cho-yee, 35, twice put his hands around the boy’s neck and on one occasion pulled his shirt before he kicked a desk and chair at Po On Commercial Association Wan Ho Kan Primary School in Tung Chung in 2014. He was convicted of two counts of common assault.
Deputy magistrate Minnie Wat Lai-man condemned the assault as serious, and one that breached teachers’ responsibility.
“Parents hand over the students to teachers, expecting the teachers to take good care of them,” she said yesterday.
But in passing sentence, she accepted defence mitigation that it was an isolated incident in 13 years of “excellent teaching performance” and there was a low risk of Ng reoffending.
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“This incident was inconsistent with his personality,” Wat said. “[The defendant] comes from a background of high academic qualifications and has demonstrated excellent teaching performance. He could be described as society’s rare talent.”
She said the court understood it was not an easy task to teach students, especially those with special educational needs.
And Ng had shown a positive attitude by taking 130 hours of classes on how to interact with special needs students after the incident. “The court appreciates that,” Wat said.
She also expressed sympathy towards the stress faced by Ng and his family as well as his school.
“I hope you will face [the case] with strength,” she said.
“A conviction is not the end of the world. I believe you will continue to be a good teacher.”
The boy was not injured in the assault and the school had indicated it would continue to employ him, at least until the end of term.
Some 16 letters from Ng, his family, colleagues, friends and church circle were submitted in mitigation.
Defence counsel Dennis Sit said the documents portrayed his client as a dedicated, hard-working man recognised by his superiors and other teachers.
“In the eyes of his colleagues he is passionate about teaching,” Sit said.
A student with visual impairment also wrote that Ng had not abandoned him and fought for his needs.