Why Are Asian American Students Missing From Classrooms After Schools Reopen?

Contrary to popular belief, Asian Americans are being attacked mercilessly all across the world – it’s happening in the suburbs of Washington and its’ pretty evident in the corporate sector of Philadelphia, and everywhere else in the world. From Filipino nurses to the refugees in Minneapolis, everyone is getting affected by it.

According to the preconceived assumptions, the stigma or stereotype was predicted to stop as soon as the schools reopen – but is that really the case? Do you know that ever since the school buildings have reopened, the rate of Asian American students has decreased significantly? It has come to our notice that Asian American families have decided to keep their children from going back to school and have resorted to home learning, at least for now.

It seems like they are worried about the treatment their children would receive from elder parents that come from multigenerational households, and understandably so! Asian American parents are concerned about the safety measures, as they don’t trust the schools and are suspicious of the policies designed to protect the community. They think that their children will be targeted and harassed, which can – eventually and most probably – be traumatic for them.

A number of those Asian American parents are actually satisfied with online learning, as they don’t want to risk the health of their family.

As per the statistics, Asian American children form the smallest ratio of children that are currently back in physical classrooms. The precise percentage is apparently under 12%, which is way below the general percentage. A similar situation is observed in Tennessee; the number of Asian families that are enrolled in Metro Nashville Public School is less than half. At the same time, the children of White families make up over two-thirds.

When it comes to Chicago, approximately two-thirds of the White families have chosen to pursue in-person learning, whereas only a third of Asian, Black, and Latino students have headed their way back. In Virginia, over 30% of Asian families have opted for face-to-face learning this semester, and that’s actually quite a concerning rate because it’s the lowest we have ever seen by a minority group.

These statistics are quite concerning and expose the bitter truth about our world today. There’s a reason why ‘Stop Asian Attacks’ keeps trending on social media. Asian American community is protesting on the streets for a reason, and we all need to acknowledge the problem. And do you know what the problem is? It’s us –- all of us! We are the racist bigots who stood up and chanted ‘Black Lives Matter’ one year ago. We are the hypocrites who advocated for the rights of the Black community. We called out our President and told him to check his behavior and attitude!

Today, we’re the same people – judging and discriminating against the Asian community. We’re all victims of the savior complex, thinking that we do no harm and whatever decision we take is to “protect our children”, but what are we teaching them? To feel threatened by the Asian community? To blame them for the pandemic? To make them feel inadequate? To stare at them and make them feel uncomfortable to the point where they think twice about stepping outside their house?

It because of us that they’ve decided to not trust the government. They’ve decided to keep their children at home and choose remote learning instead of letting them go to school like other White kids.

This has obviously caused a devastating impact on the children. When you come to think of it, Asian kids experience the same atrocities that are faced by Black and Latino students: poverty, language barrier, and lack of resources. Do you know that one in five Asians lives in poverty? Now you can imagine how the current circumstances will add to the pressure that they already face.

People constantly assume that Asian kids are already good at studies, but isn’t that a generalization?

“Everyone makes assumptions that, ‘Oh, Asian kids are doing better with virtual learning but we’re increasing barriers for those students who are already not performing well.”

Now is the time for schools to make additional efforts to reach out to Asian families and provide them reassurance. The hesitation and fear of Asian parents are justified, considering the attacks that they’re regularly facing.

Things worsened when President Donald Trump adopted racist language when it came to describing coronavirus. If you remember clearly, he used words like Chinese virus and Kling Flu – an outrageous and despicable reaction to cover his own shortcomings. After he used such language and terms, there was a rise in racism towards the Asian community and the instance of harassment increased simultaneously.

A couple of days ago, a Filipino man was slashed and an Asian woman was punched in the face. In addition, there was an Asian man who was shoved to the ground, while another one was beaten with a cane. These vicious and preplanned attacks are to be taken seriously. It’s a ripple effect that’s causing Asian American parents to stop their children from going to school.

According to a report submitted by Liz OuYand, professor of Columbia University and civil rights attorney, a significant number of Asian American families are fearful that they’ll get hurt if they so much as step foot outside their homes.

The professor also studies hate crimes and directs an annual hate crime prevention project. OuYang said that parents and their children have shared stories of harassment; people scream at their faces and tell them to “speak English”. Some even retort and ask them to “go back to their country”.

What do you think is better for the Asian kids missing from classrooms? Do you think it’s safe for them to go back in physical classroom and stop learning from home? Asian schooling can be tough, especially when you’re living in a country that is racist and intensely xenophobic

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