Today was a sad day. After only being in Nelson for three weeks, our sweet, brave international student decided to leave.
Why? Well it started with a comment she heard just two days after she arrived. She came home from school and said to me “Can I ask you a question? Is it true that people here don’t like Asians?”
Whoa! What? Turns out she had been told by other international students that Nelson kids didn’t like Asian students and that they weren’t welcome here. In the couple of weeks that followed what happened at school only reinforced this belief for her.
So what’s going on? I think it all started a couple of years ago when there was a furor over local kids not getting the classes they needed to graduate or being told there was no space for them at the L V Rogers High School. What followed was an attempt to allocate blame, some of which landed on the international student program. Now, do I think that local kids should have access to all the courses they need to graduate? Absolutely. Do I understand the complexities of how the school board sets budgets or allocates resources? Nope. Do I think for one minute that the kids that come here from abroad should be blamed for issues in our school system? Absolutely not.
Parents, the Nelson kids are getting this from somewhere. How do you talk about these issues at home? Blaming the “other” is something that happens all over the world especially when the local population experiences problems. It’s something we need to be vigilant about preventing here.
So parents, it may seem that teenagers don’t listen, but they’re hearing this from somewhere and are treating people accordingly. I hope our student has a better experience at her next school. She’s just a kid and deserves better.