Against Chinese-American High School Students
By World Journal
December 9, 2002
A Chinese-American student at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn
became the latest victim of school violence last week following
a recent rise of school violence against Chinese-American high school
students. Many Chinese-American educators said most cases occurred
in areas with large numbers of newly arrived immigrants. They suggest
that students learn to adapt to American culture and improve their
own command of English.
They also recommend that in the case of violence, the victim is
not advised to hit back and should leave immediately and report
the incident to the police or school officials.
Jing-li Huang, a senior counselor at Seward Park High School who
has been in school counseling for 20 years, said there has been
a sharp increase in school violence against high school students
of Chinese descent in recent years, especially in areas with large
numbers of new immigrants, such as Brooklyn. He said Lafayette High
School is one of them.
"There is a large influx of new immigrants but the high schools
in Chinatown can only accommodate a limited number of students,"
Huang said. "Some students choose to go to schools with few students
of Chinese descent because it's closer to homes or the commute is
easier, such as Brooklyn."
Huang said some ethnic groups in those areas are not familiar with
Chinese culture and thus frictions might occur. Meanwhile, students
from some ethnic groups might also inherit some bias against Chinese
people from their upbringing, added Huang.
In addition, Huang said that new immigrant students should try
to improve their English and learn about different cultures from
different ethnic groups. He said, for example, many Chinese immigrants
do not say, "Excuse me" when passing through other people or apologize
when accidentally bumping into other people. Some students would
stare at other students out of curiosity and were thought to provoke
confrontation by others.
Shih-yun King, an assistant principal at Newtown High School, said,
in most cases, victims get beaten up, blackmailed, mugged or have
their clothes or book bags damaged by other students. Sometimes
they get picked on because of their language problems or the way
Lin Yu-ting, a school psychologist at Liberty High School and Stuyvesant
High School, said many recently-arrived Chinese students would form
small groups or try to dress like African-American students, which
also causes problems.
Lin suggests that students avoid confrontation but said that they
should not keep silent in the event of violence. However, he added
that students should not hit back, advising that they would face
discipline as well.
There are 2,215 students in Lafayette High School. African-Americans
make up the majority of the student body at 50.2 percent. Hispanics
make up 19.6 percent, Chinese at 17.3 percent and white at 12.8
The media has exposed several cases of school violence at Lafayette
High School in the past two years, including incidents where several
Chinese and other Asian students were attacked by African-American
students. An assistant principal is currently under investigation
by the Department of Education for discriminating against Asian
teachers and staff. The principal has also reportedly forced some
Chinese students to apply for graduation as soon as they finished
the required credits.
According to a survey by the Department of Education, ten percent
of those interviewed said they had suffered verbal or non-verbal
racial discrimination. Of those interviewed, 50 percent are white
and 26.3 percent are Asian. However, only one-fourth of the victims
report what happened to school officials, while the rest keep silent
because they fear revenge from other students, teachers or school
Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung
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