Monday, December 10, 2012

VVA urges Vietnamese Americans to take actions to stop racial bullying and to protect our youth!

Dan Phan, a 14 yr old Vietnamese American
in Salt Lake City,  Utah, shot himself after being bullied for a long time.

The family of a 14-year-old boy who committed suicide outside a school

 in a Salt Lake City suburb says he was a victim of bullying.

VVA urges Vietnamese Americans to take actions to stop racial bullying 
and to protect our youth!

The tragedy that happened to David poses many social problems that we as a society have failed to address. There were racial bullying, sexual orientation concerns, poor guidance and counseling offered to teenagers of ethnic minorities, poor school - family dialogues in case of a troubling teenager, and right in the forefront, the issue with gun controll. Vietnamese Americans need to also view this as a serious human rights issue, and should take up the case to protect our youth!

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah (AP) — The family of a 14-year-old boy who committed suicide outside a school in a Salt Lake City suburb says he was a victim of bullying.

David Q. Phan was released early to his mother on Thursday from Bennion Junior High in Taylorsville before he returned an hour and a half later to a corner of the campus, where he shot himself in front of students.

"David had been bullied for the past few years. He would come home crying sometimes," the teen's cousin, Vy Lake, told the Deseret News.

"Bullies would walk home with him, taunting him and throwing things at him. After ignoring them didn't work, he started fighting back and got into trouble at school because of this," added Lake, who spoke on behalf of the boy's parents.

But the family neither wants to point a finger at anyone for the suicide, Lake said, nor speculate that his death was the result of bullying.

"We are not trying to place a blame on anyone," Lake said. "We just wish everyone would be more aware to bullying in the schools, and a little friendlier to their peers."

Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said school officials stayed in close contact with Phan after he reported "a bullying concern several years ago."

"Counselors have further remained in close regular contact with (him) because of other issues in his personal life," Horsley said in a statement. "Despite specific personal inquiries, David never reported any further bullying concerns and on the contrary, reported that things were going well."

The teen also was "facing significant personal challenges on multiple fronts," but Horsley declined to elaborate.
While his family is of Vietnamese heritage, Phan was born in Utah.

At a candelight vigil for the teen on Friday, family members said he faced constant torment from bullies.

His older brother, Don Phan, tried to make sense of the shooting as he stood in front of candles, flowers and a picture of the teen.

"Why? He loved everyone unconditionally," Don Phan told KTVX-TV. "I guess it just wasn't enough. It wasn't enough to stop the bullying."

The boy's cousin, Sue Lake, described incidents in which students stole Phan's gym clothes and sent him mean messages on Valentine's Day.

"I know kids would follow him home and call him names," she said. "I told him, 'You just have to ignore it.'"

Read more: 


Teen who took his own life ‘shielded’ family from bullying
Suicide » Family calls for meeting with school officials
First Published Dec 02 2012 06:03 pm • Last Updated Dec 03 2012 01:19 pm

The family of David Phan, the teen who committed suicide at Bennion Junior High in front of peers, talked publicly about the tragedy for the first time Sunday, making it clear that they had learned of the 14-year-old boy’s torment only after it was too late.
They called for a meeting with school officials to clear up conflicting reports, particularly about how bullying contributed to the circumstances of his death.
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"David was an outstanding son but he shielded his parents from the horror and negative experiences he was facing at Bennion Junior High," Thanh-Tung Than-Trong, a cousin of Phan and family spokeswoman, said at an impromptu press conference on Sunday. "The last few days have been an absolute living nightmare to learn that he was bullied in school where he was supposed to be in a safe learning environment. … Let us not deny the numerous accounts that David was a victim of serious bullying at school."
The family spokeswoman also called for Bennion staff to be trained to create an "effective anti-discrimination safe zone."
"We don’t want David’s life to be tarnished as a bullied kid who was pushed to the limit," Than-Trong said Sunday afternoon in front of the Kearns Library, next door to the church where family members gathered for the boy’s viewing.
When contacted after the family news conference, Ben Horsley, Granite School District spokesman, reiterated that school officials had been alerted to bullying problems two years ago, but he said educators had not been contacted about any recent incidents. He said school administrators are given anti-bullying training and that, under state law, teachers must watch an online program.
"We welcome a conversation with the family," Horsley said Sunday. "Frankly, we’re at a loss. Without identifying perpetrators or incidents, we’re unsure how to proceed."
Horsley said officials are concerned about the grief of the family, students and faculty.
"Our hearts go out to the family and we will get together at the appropriate time," he said.
The boy’s father, Nhuan Phan, his older brother, Don Phan, and two cousins, stood next to Than-Trong as she read the prepared statement in front of the closed library. She did not take questions from the media.


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