Leaders of several Korean-American organizations are pushing prestigious Bergen County Academies officials to take action against a Spanish teacher who deliberately made anti-Korean comments in front of her students.
Last week, the unnamed teacher asked some of her 11th grade students at the highly-competitive magnet school in Hackensack, New Jersey about their culture and how she loved them. However, she explicitly told them how she “hated Koreans”, according to Korea Daily.
The incident apparently happened not once, but twice — she reportedly echoed the same sentiments in a different class where she asked her Korean students to raise their hands only to tell them “I hate Koreans”.
Parents were rightly appalled after they heard what the teacher did in her classes. Korean-American leaders are now encouraging family members to speak out against racial discrimination, according to North Jersey.
“We want to educate parents and if that happens we are going to let them know we all stand for whoever needs help,“ Korean-American Association of New Jersey President, Ellyn Park, said at a press conference, which was held at the Palisades Park office of the organization on Nov. 17.
“As a mother of two children, I find this incident heartbreaking,” Grace Song, a member of the Korean Parents Group of Palisades Park, said during the conference.
“I can’t believe such a remark was uttered by an educator no less, when civil rights are taken so seriously in the United States and in New Jersey,” Song added. “In solidarity with the Korean community and with all Korean students, I’d like to stand with the community to resolve this issue.”
Representatives of the Korean-American Association of New Jersey, Korean American Civic Empowerment and the Korean Parents Partnership Organization met with school administrators on Friday morning to discuss the issues.
Superintendent of Bergen County Technical Schools, Howard Lerner, admitted that he could not disclose any details regarding disciplinary actions against the teacher due to confidentiality laws. He did, however, reassure concerned citizens that the district will uphold its commitment to diversity and a discrimination-free environment.
“Intolerance, insensitivity, or discrimination of any sort is contrary to the values and policies of the school district and not tolerated. Matters brought to the school’s attention are promptly and thoroughly investigated. Remedial measures are taken in appropriate circumstances,” Lerner said.
Bergen County Academies reportedly enrolls about 1,100 students, with half of the school consisting of Asians, including many Korean-American students.
According to Allkpop, the Spanish teacher still continues to teach at the school, but no longer handles 11th graders. Instead, she is now teaching ninth and 10th graders. She also reportedly issued a verbal apology to all the students she wronged during the incident.
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