south philly high's asian students: expectations vs. reality

Here's another Philadelphia Inquirer article on South Philadelphia High School, this time looking at the perspective of Asian students who have been going to school under constant threat of violence, culminating in the daylong assault on December 3: Asians find Phila. schools an unexpected experience. It's pretty sad...
In the years before Ming Chen came to the United States, he imagined his American education:

His school would be a place of learning and knowledge, where students helped one another achieve.

Chen arrived here from China in August and enrolled at South Philadelphia High School the next month. On Dec. 3, he was attacked in the lunchroom during a daylong assault on Asian students by groups of mostly African American classmates.

Today, he struggles to reconcile how he could be physically assaulted - he suffered a bloody mouth and bruises - in what he was certain would be a center of scholarship and friendship. "School should be a place to learn, to study, not a place to fight," Chen, 21, said through a translator.

The Dec. 3 violence has spawned three separate, official investigations by federal, Philadelphia School District, and human-relations officials. Asian immigrant students say what has not been discussed is their profound sense of shock, the disconnect and disparity between the reception they envisioned from a far shore and what they actually experienced in school.
In the article, eight students share what they expected and hoped would happen when they came to the United States, and what actually happened at their school when they got here. It's a really sad, frustrating story.

I can't imagine what it must be like to leave behind -- and sacrifice -- so much for the chance at more opportunity and education, only to find out you're not only not welcome at your school, but must face the threat of violence every day. No student should have to deal with that. More here: More violence and failure at South Philadelphia High School: What hasn't changed at all.

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