Bullying of Asian students topic of roundtable discussion

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    Bullying of Asian students topic of roundtable discussion

    GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A community roundtable discussion is being held Saturday, Sept. 24, to implement real solutions to combat the bullying of Asian-American youth at the Kent ISD Education Service Center.

    The bullying session is one in a series the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC) and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights has been hosting. The previous discussions have been in Ann Arbor and Madison Heights.

    Roland Hwang, a commissioner with the MAPAAC, said the commission decided to hold the bullying talks last year, following a survey of college and university Asian-American students who repeatedly referenced bullying as a school issue. He said it was also a topic of concern during town hall meetings.

    “We want to empower parents and students,” said Hwang, who said Asian-Americans represent about 2.9 percent of Michigan’s 9.9 million residents. “We also wanted to make the discussion personal by having people give testimonials.”

    Hwang, a Northville school board member, said students are being subjected to all types of verbal and physical bullying due to their race. He said Michigan is more of an immigrant community than it used to be with the Asian-American community now at a two-thirds immigrant base, and one-third born here.

    Grand Rapids’ Bing Goei, director of the Michigan Office for New Americans, said Saturday’s program has a morning and afternoon session. He said the early session is focused on informing families of the resources available to them because many of the community’s immigrants are not aware of services.

    He said a number of speakers will address those gathered during the afternoon bullying session.

    “The more we can help children understand that these are the things that will help them become better informed to live in a more global, international society, the better it will be for their own quality of life,” Goei said.

    “We have got to get that in our children’s head in the early stages of their development.”


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