Korean boy can only watch as others go to school (Globe and Mail, May 2, 2009):
Earlier this week, the boy’s father received a couriered letter from the York Region District School Board. It said the school’s principal, Catherine McGinley, was recommending the discipline committee mete out the harshest possible punishment when it meets on May 13. She asked that the 15-year-old be expelled not just from Keswick High, but from all schools in York region.
“It was horrible. It was a big shock,” the boy’s father said.
Yesterday afternoon, spokesman Ross Virgo said the board meant to retract that letter, that it was sent in error and that its contents were no longer valid. He said the case is being investigated further, and that the recommendation of expulsion is no longer in effect.
But no one had told the boy’s family, who were still mulling over the letter’s devastating implications late yesterday.
They said that they feel as though some combination of forces is trying to run them out of this rural, mostly white town, particularly in light of attacks on Asian fishermen in the nearby Lake Simcoe area in 2007.
His father said the school doesn’t seem to understand the impact of the racial comment. Afterward, a vice-principal asked his son why a Korean was upset about being called Chinese.
“Probably they don’t realize how much it hurts when someone makes a racist comment,” his father said. “My son said, ‘I felt all the way down, like I am nothing, on the floor. Like they’re the master and I’m the slave.’ ”
His father said he will continue to fight for his son.
“Maybe they’re trying to force me to move to another area, I don’t know … I’m not going to give up. If I give up, no other Asian can ever come here and feel safe.“