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12.11.2017

New Jersey teacher accused of making anti-Korean comments

A teacher at Bergen Academies High School reportedly singled out Korean students and said "I hate Koreans."



In New Jersey, a high school teacher is under fire for recent comments she made during class, reportedly saying she hated the Korean culture and telling Korean students, "I hate Koreans."

Bergen Academies teacher accused of making anti-Korean comments

The teacher, whose name is being withheld, teaches Spanish at the prestigious Bergen Academies High School in Hackensack. According to The Korea Daily, the teacher asked students what their native countries of origin were. When a Korean student answered "Korea," the teacher reportedly said, "I hate Korean." Later, in another class, she allegedly asked Korean students to raise their hands and repeated the sentiment.

School administrators say the teacher has been reassigned to different classrooms and offered verbal apologies to the students. But community leaders representing ten Korean American organizations are now calling for the teacher to be fired, among other demands, claiming it wasn't an isolated incident. The teacher's remarks are allegedly part of a "years-long pattern" of derogatory comments and discriminatory behavior.



Concerned Korean Parents. (Photo: northjersey.com)

Other currently and former students say the teacher had made comments in the past against certain ethnic groups. One student, a 2015 graduate, tells The Record that the teacher made "derogatory comments" about Koreans, Chinese and Japanese that she described as "teasing" but that made students "uncomfortable."

The Bergen County Academies is a highly competitive magnet school that's widely considered among the top public schools in the nation. It enrolls about 1,100 students, about half of whom are Asian, including many Korean American students. How many of those Asian students were taught by the teacher in question?

In addition to dismissing the teacher, community leaders are calling for improved cultural bias and sensitivity training for faculty and administrators and for a public, written apology from the superintendent. They also asked for a written explanation of the incident and the steps that followed to be sent to parents at the school.

I gotta ask: why does this teacher hate Koreans so much? What did Koreans do to her?

More here: Korean-American leaders call for firing of teacher at Bergen County Academies

UPDATE: The district's superintendent claims the teacher was attempting to make a provocative point about prejudice that the students apparently failed to grasp, during a lesson about respect for diversity on the first day of school. While the administration is calling the lesson "inappropriate," the teacher will not be fired.

More here: Bergen Academies teacher's anti-Korean comments part of diversity lesson, district says