AS school districts across the country prepare to return to in-person learning, the social advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate is urging K-12 institutions to take precautions and prioritize the well-being and safety of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students.
The threat of anti-Asian harassment and violence is still very much present among AAPI communities — particularly the East Asian and Southeast Asian American communities — in the wake of the disturbing trend of anti-Asian hate across the United States, as previously reported in the Asian Journal.
According to a recent survey from the U.S. Dept. of Education, AAPI students are returning to campuses at a much lower rate than that of non-Asian students.
The survey found that 7 out of 10 AAPI students enrolled in K-12 schools are still opting for virtual learning, which is likely due to the increase in discrimination, harassment and violence against the community.
“Families should not have to choose between their children’s well-being and their education, yet this is a decision many AAPI families across the nation are being forced to make,” said Stop AAPI Hate in a press release. “The choice of many AAPI parents to keep their children home amid the return to in-person learning shows that concrete action is necessary to ensure our students feel safe and protected from racism while at school.”
Among the school districts opening their gates in the coming weeks includes the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the U.S. that serves a county of more than 1.5 million AAPIs.
The recommendations that Stop AAPI Hate has distributed include one for superintendents, principals and other school faculty to “acknowledge and denounce the racism perpetrated against Asian Americans” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teachers are also urged to “integrate ethnic studies” and lessons on “anti-racism” into the curriculum and course work “to address the roots of racism and promote racial empathy and justice.”
In terms of accountability, the group also encouraged schools to adopt confidential reporting systems for bullying and to address all complaints in a timely manner.
Additionally, teachers and faculty should receive training on how to deal with anti-Asian hate and discrimination in the classroom and on campus.
According to Stop AAPI Hate’s national hate crime tracker, 343 incidents targeting AAPI youths between the ages of 0 to 17 years old were reported between March 19, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021, a figure that “likely undercounts the rate of hate incidents against youth, as many school districts have reopened since this data was collected.”