Sixty Nepalese students at a secondary school in Tuen Mun boycotted class on Tuesday to protest against the school's sudden firing of two staff members who had been helping them.
The pair, a Nepalese community-relations worker and an English teacher who had developed a multicultural study programme for ethnic minority children, were dismissed last week.
One of the boycotting students, who insisted on anonymity, said students liked the two staff members, Amod Rai and Carlos Soto, and that the CMA Choi Cheung Kok Secondary School had been dishonest when it fired them.
"The school lied to us," he said. "They said the teachers resigned but in fact they were fired. We decided to boycott the school to show our dissatisfaction," the pupil said.
He said the protesting students had not decided how long the boycott would last.
School principal Dr Mak Yiu-kwong said the administration had terminated the pair's contracts because they had affected "relationships among employees" and the school's operation.
He said the decision was made by a committee of teachers, parents, administrators, ex-pupils and independent community members but declined to say what the pair allegedly did.
Soto, who had taught English at the school for three years, said there had been a continuous fight between his team and the school.
"I was told our curriculum didn't meet the Education Bureau's guidelines and what I was teaching didn't prepare students" for the Diploma of Secondary Education exams, Soto said. "Our vision for what the students needed and how it should be done was worlds apart. The gap didn't narrow in three years."
Under the programme, students were encouraged to read stories about different cultures and write their own thoughts.
The school terminated Soto's contract for "difficulty in cooperation".
Rai, who had been in charge of communicating with parents in the Nepalese community, said he was fired for the same reason.
Rai said he would try to meet the Education Bureau on the issue. Soto said he would continue to help pupils from outside the school.