“We have no formal reports of bullying,” district spokesman Ben Horsley told the Salt Lake Tribune. “We don’t have any student come forward to talk about bullying.”
But Phan’s classmate Makayla Schmidt told KSL that bullying is especially difficult to detect when it comes in the form of verbal, as opposed to physical, abuse.
“I heard it, people [talking about him,” she told the station. “I don’t think people realize how much words can hurt.”
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Commentary: three years ago today, in South Philly High School, Asian immigrant students were targets in a series of beatings that lasted from 8:30am to 4pm after school. The school and school district officials immediately tried to cover up everything by refusing to take the responsibility on this, although 30 Asian immigrant students were attacked, and 13 had to go to the hospital. It’s dysfunctional school districts and irresponsible school officials like this that helped perpetuate the whole culture of silence and normalization of school violence.
It is imperative that school administrations step up to the plate, take responsibility, and work to ensure that schools are safe environments for the students they are built to serve.