This is a story about a haunted school in Hong Kong that Theresa heard from her father when she was growing up. She told me two versions, one that supposedly took place 20-25 years ago and one that takes place when the school was newly built (date unknown). In both cases, the main thrust of the story is the same.
“The school was built when the Hong Kong government were expanding the rural areas to accommodate a large group of low income, low education people to settle away from the city center. The kids were absolute terrors, and the teachers doesn’t care. Generally, most schools in Hong Kong are six or seven stories- concrete buildings, with stairs and hallways running on the outside like balconies. Windows looking into the class rooms run the entire length of the hallway. There were small recesses a couple of square feet in size, that leads into the rooms, offering more protection from the elements. Most schools don’t have a gymnasium, usually they have a courtyard with basketball hoops that also doubles as an assembly area.
“ In one version, twenty, twenty five years ago, the boy was in grade six and by all accounts a little monster. It was after school and he was running down the hall on the third floor when he crashed into the walls outside the staff room. None of the teachers inside noticed when the kid bounced off a wall and fell onto the floor. The kid had a concussion and died on school property, right outside the staff room door. The school swept it under the rug and the parents, being uneducated, poor and most likely influenced by the school, said nothing.
“The second version cast the school in slightly better light. The accident occurred when the school was newly built. The town was still new enough that there were no little to no road signs and most addresses were still using the land’s lot number. The boy was in the courtyard when he fell after climbing something, hitting his head on the ground and lost consciousness. The school called for an ambulance but it being a relatively new school, and a lack of a real address other than a lot number, the ambulance took too long getting there and the boy died before help could arrive.
“The incident should have ended there and given enough time people would have forgotten it, except not long after, the janitors noticed some nights there was a student still around the school when they were closing. They complained to the principle that they seen him around the second floor bathroom and the third floor after school, then runs away when they tried to get him to leave, and would the teachers please do something about it. Not much was done and they were told not to talk about it. The janitors got increasingly frustrated since they can’t close the school with a student still inside.
“They finally caught him one night on the third floor. There was a janitor on each end of the hall stairways to prevent him from escaping. The student started running towards the other end of the hall, then turned into the staff rooms door recess. The janitors thought they had him, only he wasn’t there when they arrived and the staff room door was locked and padlocked on the outside. None of the janitors mentioned the student again, except now it’s the school’s worse kept secret, kinda hard not to know when every once in awhile, someone would see a student run down the third floor hallway and into the staff room after school.”
I think this story is fantastically interesting because it stands in contrast to some of the more prominent ghost stories in Hong Kong. A brief internet search revealed many stories related to grisly murders and horrific accidents, while this story stand apart as more of a cautionary tale. There is no way of knowing whether or not this is true but, to me, this story about a school designed specially for low income students to be accommodated away from the city center and where a general atmosphere of apathy persists, even when a student dies, feels like a subtle critique of bureaucracy and class divisions, and I would not be surprised to find similar stories in other cities, both in China and abroad, where there is a significant income gap.