NJ Korean Community Demands Teacher’s Dismissal

Korean leaders at a Nov. 29 press conference condemning the discriminatory statements by a teacher at Bergen Academy. (Photo via The Korea Times)

[The following draws on articles that appeared in The Korea Times written by Jinwoo Cho and Hong Ki Keum.]

The Bergen Academy teacher who stated “I hate Koreans” during class has been transferred to another school district.

But the Korean community is still furious.

In early September, the Spanish teacher, whose name has not been revealed, told one of the Korean students “I hate Koreans” during an 11th grade Spanish class.

Later, this controversial issue spread across social media and in the Korean community. The local Korean community in Bergen County said it was anti-Korean discrimination and started insisting that the school district take strong action against the teacher.

On Dec. 13, the Bergen County Technical School & Special Service (BCTS) commission finally sent a statement to the Korean organizations and parents confirming that they will be sending the teacher to a different school district as a penalty.

This was the result of the criticism and protests by the Korean community and parents.

On Nov. 29, numerous Korean community organizations including the Korean American Association of New Jersey, Korean American Business Association of New Jersey, Fort Lee Korean American Association, and Palisades Park Parents Association called for an official apology to the Korean community, including students and parents, and called for an official apology by the teacher. They passed a resolution that mandates cultural education for teachers and school staff, and requested that the teacher in question be dismissed.

The Korean community is still urging the school district and local officials to fire the teacher instead of transferring the teacher to a different school.

Korean leaders emphasized that this is a serious violation of laws protecting against discrimination and is unacceptable in school.

Eunrim Park, president of the Korean American Association of New Jersey, said, “We cannot accept the final decision by the school district. We are going to send a letter calling for the teacher’s dismissal to the Bergen County education commission.”

Aside from this, the Korean community has been gathering signatures on a petition demanding the teacher’s resignation. There were more than 3,500 signers by Dec. 14.

“If our proposal is not accepted by the county, we are going to file a lawsuit,” Dongchan Kim, president of Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE), said.

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