Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | Update: 15-year-old Korean Canadian reinstated at school after being charge w/ assault; bully apologizes
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Update: 15-year-old Korean Canadian reinstated at school after being charge w/ assault; bully apologizes

The Korean Canadian teen who fought back against a bully and won the support of his classmates has been allowed back in school.

Last week I wrote about the 15-year-old, who was suspended from school and charged with assault by the York Regional Police in a town north of Toronto, for breaking the nose of another student. The other student had been bullying him, and called him a “fucking Chinese” before hitting the boy. Unfortunately for the bully, the Korean kid (his ethnicity wasn’t identified in the earlier story) is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, the Korean martial art (his father is a master), and he defended himself with his weaker left hand, but still broke the bully’s nose.

Because the bully wasn’t initially charged (both were suspended form school however), 400 students at Keswick High School protested last week to point out the injustice. A racial bias investigation was kicked off (no word on what happened to that).

Although the school board initially recommended expulsion and blocking the Korean Canadian student from any of the district’s schools (seem pretty harsh to me — any racial bias there on the part of the administration?), they changed their minds since last week.

According to a follow-up story from the Globe and Mail:

The reversal represents a dramatic victory for the Asian student, who was suspended a maximum 20 days last week. He had received a letter from the school board – later retracted – that said his principal recommended he be expelled from all schools in the region.

The 15-year-old will return to Keswick High School this morning with the suspension removed from his academic record and his upcoming expulsion hearing cancelled, the boy’s father said yesterday.

Both their families have met and the kids apologized to each other, the Korean Canadian for breaking the bully’s nose and the bully for spouting off the racist comment. He says he didn’t know why he said it.

All’s well that ends well, for now.

I applaud the kid all over again for having the moxy to fight back, but I’m worried that this kind of hatred is so easy to access because it’s just below the veneer of civility, and that lots more kids — and adults — out there are carrying around similar feelings beneath their surface.