This article is the second of a series of nine stories which seeks to increase visibility and understanding of the diverse Asian American communities in the Philadelphia region and their strengths, challenges and histories. Now more than ever, we must ensure Asian voices have a platform to speak out against the issues impacting our communities.
这一系列报道是新主流传媒公司与费城华埠发展会（PCDC）合作，和Sojourner Consulting协同，并获得独立公共媒体基金会（the Independence Public Media Foundation）的大力支持。
This series is developed by New Mainstream Press in partnership with the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation and in consultation with Sojourner Consulting, with support from the Independence Public Media Foundation.
对于费城中央高中（Central High School）11年级的学生Sara来说，反亚裔的霸凌早已司空见惯。从很小的时候，Sara就会感受到她的朋友和同龄人不经意间流露出的“歧视”：除了眼睛的形状之外，父母为她准备的中式午餐也成为话题，因为她的午饭看起来和学生餐厅提供的三明治和鸡肉饼等美式餐点大相迳庭。
Sara, a Central High School student, says anti-Asian bullying is nothing new to her. From a young age Sara would receive verbal microaggressions from her friends and peers about the shape of her eyes and the food her Chinese parents would pack her for lunch, which was vastly different from the hoagies and chicken patties her friends would get from the cafeteria.
At the time, these comments were written off as gentle teasing or genuine curiosity. It didn’t occur to her until years later that these experiences were her first experiences of anti-Asian racism. With the rise of anti-Asian bias incidents and bullying stories that have taken over the Philadelphia media landscape, other students are also coming to terms with their own experiences. Many struggle to speak up about them.
“It takes a while for most students to come to terms…They’re used to Asian [stereotypes] of being quiet and being afraid to speak out. Even when they do speak out, teachers slide it under the rug,” the student shared. She is now involved in Asian American student life at school, and a youth intern at Asian Americans United (AAU), a non-profit which has been active in organizing youth around anti-Asian incidents in schools.
金海伦（Helen Gym）有着多重身份: 她曾是公立学校教师，当过记者；现在她是亚裔联合会董事会成员；来自韩国移民家庭的她，还是三个孩子的母亲。她对费城，特别是费城学区里发生的反亚裔歧视事件深有体会。几十年来，种族霸凌和骚扰行为在费城学区不断上演。作为首位亚裔费城市议员，金海伦决心要让费城成为一座“来自不同背景的孩子们都能够感到安全”的城市。
Former public school teacher and AAU board member Helen Gym knows a thing or two when it comes to anti-Asian bias incidents in Philadelphia, especially within the School District of Philadelphia. Race-motivated bullying and harassment have plagued the school system for decades. Now a City Council Member at Large, Gym is determined to make the city a safer place for school children of all backgrounds.
“I don’t think there’s any question that if you’re Asian American, this is a defining part of your life, and it doesn’t end after childhood.”
This sentiment has proven true for Asian American communities across Philadelphia. The trend accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic, which former President Trump and many other high-level politicians publicly labeled “the China virus.”
“Multiple people in extremely high offices are relentless in scapegoating Asian Americans…I was also shocked to see how little people pushed back,” said Gym about the amount of elected officials who blamed Chinese Americans and other Asian groups for the rise of Covid-19.
Since March 2020, the FBI recorded 279 hate crimes against Asians alone in 2020, which was a 73% increase from previous years. Hate crimes as a whole, against any group, only rose 13%. Recent data by AAPI showed that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the group least likely to report incidents of harassment. Whether this be due to language barriers or fear of backlash, it means the number of incidents both locally and nationally is likely much higher.
2021年11月，很多媒体关注了一起针对亚裔学生的仇恨犯罪事件。四名十几岁的女孩因在费城SEPTA地铁上发起种族动机的攻击而遭到起诉。该恶性事件被拍摄下来，并且在网间广泛传播。在视频中大家看到，几个非裔女孩在地铁车厢中，用带有种族歧视的字眼高声辱骂费城中央高中（Central High School）几个亚裔学生。当时，一名亚裔学生Christina Lu挺身而出，试图保护同校的学弟，但是她却反遭几个非裔女孩长达数分钟的拳打脚踢。事发之后，Christina Lu因为勇敢伸张正义，而被视为英雄。
In an incident which received media attention in November 2021, four teens were charged for a racially motivated attack on the Broad Street SEPTA Line, which was caught on camera. The attackers were yelling at and hitting a group of Asian students from Central High School when another Asian student, Christina Lu, stepped up to defend her peers. Lu suffered life-threatening wounds from the incident and is regarded as a hero for her bravery for defending her peers from the abuse.
其实早在新冠疫情爆发之前，费城公立学校里的反亚裔攻击事件就已层出不穷。2009年12月4日，南费城高中（South Philadelphia High School）发生了一起震惊全美的反亚裔仇恨暴力事件，当时，26名亚裔学生因为遭到非亚裔的同学残忍霸凌，流血受伤。
Yet Philadelphia public school students have been feeling the weight of anti-Asian attacks well before the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2009, South Philadelphia High School, more commonly known as Southern, experienced a violent act of anti-Asian hate when 30 Asian students were brutally attacked by their non-Asian classmates.
因为不满校方漠视学生，特别是亚裔学生的安全，该校的数十名学生集结起来罢课8天，以示抗议。这一事件在全美发酵，美国最高法院（the U.S. Supreme Court） 甚至命令费城学区聘请顾问为工作人员做有关种族骚扰行为的培训。在金海伦看来，这些培训当时起到了一些作用。但是，从近几年来看，尽管种族骚扰和霸凌的行为在规模上持续增加，但政府处理相关事件的态度却变得更加散漫。
As a result of the attack, about 50 students banded together to boycott their high school for 8 days. The incident became a matter of national attention, and the U.S. Supreme Court even ordered the district to hire a harassment consultant to facilitate district staff through racial trainings, which Gym said were aggressively pushed as part of the Supreme Court-ordered settlement. Efforts have become more relaxed in recent years, even though racial-based harassment and bullying has increased in scale.
少数种族的霸凌行为，影响的不仅仅是亚裔学生群体。近年来，费城发起了一系列反霸凌运动。2015年，一项名叫 “变革捍卫者”（Champions of Change）的运动就鼓励学生勇敢站出来反对霸凌，并希望能为25所参与学校创造出更良好的学习环境。
The city has launched various anti-bullying campaigns in recent years, as racial targeting and bullying have affected more than just the Asian Student population. A 2015 campaign, entitled “Champions of Change,” encouraged students to take a stand against bullying and create a more positive school environment in 25 participating schools across the city.
However, these campaigns have not made a permanent difference against racial bullying and harassment of student minorities in the School District of Philadelphia. Despite the pandemic-era spike in anti-Asian discrimination, there has been less focus on the school environment. Out of all the Asian American students who experienced bullying in the U.S., 54% have said it occured in the classroom. More locally-sourced data is not available at this time, likely due to the amount of cases reported and followed through on.
2009年霸凌亚裔学生的事件发生后，南费城高中（Southern High School）学生抗议取得的最大胜利之一就是制定了第一个在全学区内执行，旨在保护少数族裔免受攻击骚扰的反霸凌法案。金海伦是这项“248法案”（Policy 248）的起草者之一。该法案提到费城学校应 “为学生提供一个健康、安全和良好的学习氛围”。她回忆说，当时对于248法案的争论很多，因为在这一法案出台之前，没有任何一项学区政策是着眼于学生的，对于什么是针对青少年的骚扰和霸凌，也没有明确的界定。
One of the largest wins to come from the Southern High School advocacy was the development of the first district wide anti-bullying policy that aims to protect minors from harassment. Helen Gym was a part of the team who helped draft the school district’s first anti-bullying and harassment law Policy 248, which claims that the Philadelphia schools are to “provide a healthy, safe, positive learning climate for students in the schools.” Prior to this policy, there was no district policy which explicitly focused on students. There was also no clear definition of harassment, specifically a definition that included the threshold of harassment and bullying that youth would experience, which Gym claims policy makers argued over.
The policy allows any guardian, student, or staff member to file a complaint. The district must respond and investigate the complaint accordingly in a timely manner, as well as provide translation services for the native language of both the victim and the perpetrator. The policy was adopted in 2010 and revised in 2018. The official definition of harassment, as quoted in the policy, is:
“Harassment shall consist of verbal, nonverbal, written, graphic or physical conduct relating to an individual’s sex, age, race, color, sexual orientation (known or perceived), gender identity expression (known or perceived), national origin/ethnicity, religion, disability, English language proficiency, socioeconomic status and/or political beliefs.”
这项法案给出了一条向学校和Title IX协调员报告骚扰事件的明确路径，同时对骚扰事件的调查流程制定了明确的纲要说明。Title IX是美国的联邦民权法，作为1972年教育修正案的一部分，它禁止在任何接受联邦政府资助的学校或其他教育项目中存在基于性别的歧视。
The policy includes explicit directions for how to report incidents of harassment to the schools and a Title IX Deputy Coordinator. Also included is a clear outline for the mandatory investigative process that accompanies each submission of harassment.
248法案计划于今年春天再次进行修订，以期使用更易懂的语言来界定基于种族歧视的骚扰和霸凌行为。从技术层面上，举报骚扰和霸凌事件的方法有很多：包含在线提交、热线电话，以及向学区内任何成年工作人员报告。不过，费城学区学生权力和责任办公室（the office of Student Rights and Responsibilities）无法提供通过以上方式举报骚扰和霸凌的相关数据。基于种族和或英语流利程度分类的霸凌数据也无法获得。
Technically, there are various ways to contact the district about incidents of harassment and bullying, including an online portal, a hotline, and reporting to any adult staff member within the district. Policy 248 will also be up before the board this spring for renewal, and will include simpler language to define racial based harassment and bullying.
However, the office of Student Rights and Responsibilities was unable to provide any data regarding the number of cases reported through these methods. Data on bullying disaggregated by ethnicity or English language fluency is also unavailable. As the primary student source for this article identifies as Chinese, many of the results we found reflected this experience.
The issue remains for students who are uncomfortable reporting incidents due to language barriers or accessibility, and students who are not aware of the policy in the first place. Sara, the student from Central High, says she and her peers were unaware of any way to submit a complaint about bullying and harassment besides notifying the school principal. It was not until the interview process for this piece that she learned about the various methods.
Even with these policies and resources in place, Asian targeting in schools is a problem that has not ended. Sara, who has grown up watching her peers and herself become victims to bullying, says that groups of non-Asian high school students will throw food on their Asian peers or spill urine from a water bottle onto them from above. Rather than one-off incidents, these are examples of daily realities of many Asian students’ experiences in schools.
Despite the resources present in the district as a result of Policy 248, most students are not aware of how to report these incidents, and find that the school administrations offer little support, often dismissing the incidents as students “just kids screwing around,” says Sara. Nonetheless, the students who want to seek support often face language barriers, according to Sara. This impacts students from finding trusted adults or administrators within the schools since they cannot communicate confidently with them. Language and cultural barriers are also faced at home, where parents and adult figures may also experience challenges advocating for their children. 10% of Philadelphians do not speak English fluently.
Over 14,000 students in the School District of Philadelphia are either not native English speakers or are part of a family that does not speak English as a primary language. Of this population, an undetermined amount of students and families are LEP, meaning they have limited English proficiency. In 2015, a lawsuit was filed against the school district for not translating documents or providing interpretation for families who requested it.
据费城中央高中（Central High School）的学生们来说，学校内有一名双语辅导员，但他只是兼职，因为她同时要为5所学校提供服务。学校的官方信件只用英语书写，导致有语言困扰的家长无法了解其子女的学习状况。
According to the Central High School student, one bilingual counselor is available in the building, and is only available part time as she services about 5 schools in the district. Official letters from the school are only sent home in English, leading to a gap in understanding of what transpires in their children’s school for LEP parents.
Educational professionals as well as students, parents, and anti-bullying advocates want to see more from the school board too, starting with the renewal and revision of Policy 248. Translation services for all spoken dialects within the schools also need to be taken to the next level, as empathy and culture cannot be taught if students are not given the opportunity to understand the lessons.
Many believe promoting cultural understanding in schools is the solution to the targeted attacks and bullying of the public school population composed of minority students. Almost 100 languages and dialects are spoken in the public schools. Yet most cultures are not represented in the school curriculum.
“Schools are common meeting grounds tha t may not exist in other spaces. Communities come together sometimes for the very first time…” says Helen Gym. “It also means that we have to be ultra responsible for teaching young people…diversity is not just to be tolerated but celebrated.”
今年，费城学区首次在农历新年（Lunar New Year） 放假一天，以彰显对亚裔群体文化传统的重视，声援占费城学区人口7%的亚裔学生。许多学校还特别开设有关农历新年的文化课程，以促进文化间理解和互鉴。
This year, the Philadelphia School District closed for Lunar New Year for the first time, in an attempt to fight back against anti-Asian hate attacks and to stand in solidarity with Asian Americans in Philadelphia, which make up 7% of the student population of the District. Many schools included cultural lessons about the holiday to facilitate understanding and appreciation.
2022年1月，新泽西州长菲尔·墨菲（Phil Murphy）签署了一项法案，同意在该州基础教育的课程中加入有关亚太裔美国人历史的内容。该法案同时批准由新泽西教育部设立一个亚裔美国人遗产委员会(Commission for Asian American Heritage)。
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill to recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander history in the state’s K-12 social studies curriculum. The passing of this bill also establishes a Commission for Asian American Heritage within New Jersey’s Department of Education.
我们采访了费城学区学生权利和责任办公室（School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities）的瑞秋·荷兹曼（Rachel Holzman）和安迪利亚·普莱斯（Andrea Price）。他们认为，虽然种族霸凌和骚扰依旧存在，但近年来费城学校增加了同学之间，学生和教员之间沟通和交流的机会，同时也提升了学生和教师间的互信和尊重。
We spoke with Rachel Holzman and Andrea Price from the School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. While they acknowledge racial-based bullying and harassment is a problem, they note that in recent years Philly schools have increased peer to peer, and peer to staff communication, meaning facilitating relationships of trust and respect between students and teachers.
费城学区和学生权利与责任办公室还携手推动 “关系优先” 策略，尝试让不同文化背景的学生社群在校园里建立连结。普遍认为，当校园里充满同理心和情感的共鸣，霸凌和骚扰之类的事件就会有所减少。根据业内人士的说法，最好的预防措施是打造 “一个温暖和友好的环境，让成人和儿童，儿童和儿童建立和谐的关系”。
The Philadelphia school district and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities push for a “relationship first” tactic to try and further bonding between different cultural and social groups in schools. It is thought that problems like bullying and harassment are reduced when a feeling of empathy is shared throughout the school building. According to these district professionals, the best prevention is to create “a warm and welcoming climate where adults and children, and children and children have relationships.”
Empathy and cultural lessons are only the beginning to bridging the divide in schools among groups of students as the bullying and harassment that takes place within the School District of Philadelphia has become a systemic problem rooted in the lack of policy.
“It goes beyond your cultural differences. We have a history of America being built on racist institutions. We have our police system, we have our prison system, that throughout their existence has been [pitting] our communities of color against each other,” says Sara.
She and other advocates believe that anti-racism and anti-bias lessons are also needed to crush the stereotypes that students mimic from their after-school environments, whether that be from home or social circles. Youth emulate their atmosphere, so what they see and hear outside of the classroom is internalized before they even show up to school.
The responsibility for these changes falls not just to the district officials, but to the individuals themselves to learn anti-racist behaviors and educate themselves on Asian American issues. Sara says she is one of many students trying to spread the message that it is not the responsibility of the oppressed and the minority to educate others. “It’s not my job to explain to my peers who I am. I’m not there to serve as their education. I can play a role in teaching them but that’s something they should be searching out on their own.”
担任亚裔联合会(AAU)青年项目协调员的格蕾丝·范（Grace Fan）表示，她认同文化教育的重要性，但这并不足以解决学区当前面临的 “如何看待亚裔学生”和“如何为他们建立安全学习环境”等问题。
Grace Fan, who serves as the Youth Programming Coordinator for Asian Americans United (AAU) agrees with the sentiment that cultural teachings are important, but are not enough to solve the issues at hand in the school district. “How do we see Asian students and build an environment where Asian students can feel whole and safe in the school district?”
Fan and AAU contribute to the cause by providing youth-focused programs for the Asian and immigrant communities in Philly. They are working hard to empower Asian American youth to feel comfortable advocating for themselves and their peers, and taking ownership in their cultural experiences.
Cultural awareness of Asian American history and other minority groups is a big step forward for the Philadelphia school district, the same district that was the first to integrate African American history into its curriculum. Yet much more needs to be done on a systemic level to create educational environments that feel safe.
Like Councilmember Gym says, “Our city and school district embraces the entire world,” and the district is better equipped when they meet those language and cultural needs of all students.
*Throughout the article, the author uses the pseudonym “Sara” to respect the source’s request for anonymity.
This is Part I of a two-part article on anti-Asian bullying in the Philadelphia School District. Part II will focus on the renewal and challenges of Policy 248。
- 寄电子邮件至Title IX专员：firstname.lastname@example.org；
- If you or someone you know would like to submit a harassment report to the Philadelphia School District, you can do so by one of the following methods:
- Complete the online Bullying, Harassment/Discrimination Reporting form;
- Call the Bullying/Harassment hotline at 215-400-SAFE;
- Submit a complaint via Safe2Say;
- Email the Compliance Officer/Title IX Coordinator directly at email@example.com;
- Report the incident to the building principal or designee, or to any other member of the school staff, including teachers, guidance counselors, bilingual counseling assistants (BCAs), coaches, and administrators.
A report may be made at any time, including during non business hours.