About 80 students staged a silent protest in the school playground at Chinese Foundation Secondary School (CFSS) in Siu Sai Wan this morning, despite a warning from a former supervisor of the school.
About 100 alumni and students from nearby secondary schools also stood outside the school in a show of solidarity. Some fifty CFSS students observed the demonstration from some higher floors on campus.
At 7.35am, students wearing black masks and holding signs with slogans including “Five demands, not one less” and “There’s no crime in voicing [our opinions], there’s a reason for the class boycott”, entered the school and started gathering at the playground. They returned to their classrooms shortly after 8am.
The protest came after Annie Wu Suk-ching, a Hong Kong-based Chinese businesswoman, who is also a former supervisor of the school’s, allegedly forbade students from boycotting class yesterday, causing them to cancel the school strike activities and instead turn it into a silent gathering before class.
According to an Instagram statement released by the student concern group at CFSS, in a meeting with Wu, she allegedly stated that students who participated in and organised the school strike would be expelled.
She also allegedly said the staff involved in the strike would also be laid off.
In a statement to the press, the concern group said some teachers had confirmed with them that the school would call on riot police forces to search students outside the school gates.
Wu also allegedly said she could use her connections or issue letters of recommendation for students to get into universities easier, according to the statement.
Young Post phoned the school office for an interview with principal Dickson Ho, but the request was refused.
No riot police was seen on site.
Kayden, a 16-year-old student at Lingnan Hang Yee Memorial Secondary School, a nearby school in Siu Sai Wan, led the supporters outside of CFSS in chanting slogans such as “We support you, students at CFSS!”
He told Young Post, “We came here to tell CFSS’s school principal that it’s the students’ right to boycott class, so they should be allowed to do that,” said Hayden, who did not wish to reveal his surname.
An alumnus from CFSS, who wished to stay anonymous for privacy reasons, told Young Post, “I was furious when I saw yesterday’s statement, because I remember we were allowed to go on strike back in 2014, during the Umbrella movement... I just can’t accept that the school will actually expel student strikers now.”
He added he also couldn’t stand the idea of the alleged offer of university places for compliance.
The current HKUST student wanted to tell all CFSS students that they shouldn’t succumb to the "white terror" and that the alumni would always support them.
He also said he understood that a lot of the teachers were pressured by the school. The group said they were only unhappy about the management of the school, rather than the teachers.
At 9:32am, about eight students from the concern group hoped to speak to the press, but the school refused to open the gate.
Alumni and people who stood outside the school chanted, “Open the gate, open the gate!”
Mr Dickson Ho, the principal of the school, came out from the school gate and spoke to the press at 10.50am.
He said if students had parents’ permission to not attend classes, the school would not punish or expel them.
Also, Ho said that they had never called the police or riot police, and that the information circulated online was false.
“We respect students’ demands and hope students will go to school as usual,” he added.
He did not reply to any questions from the press.