Texas teachers put on admin leave after implying that eating cats and dogs is the ‘norm’ in China

Tan Mei Zi
·3-min read
The incident has sparked an investigation by the school district. — Pictures via Twitter/joyjuheelim and Pixabay
The incident has sparked an investigation by the school district. — Pictures via Twitter/joyjuheelim and Pixabay

PETALING JAYA, April 2 — Three teachers in Texas have put on administrative leave after they implied that eating cats and dogs is the “norm” in parts of China.

College student Joy Juhee Lim tweeted a photo on March 31 of her 12-year-old sister’s social studies test which asked students to identify which of the following statements about China was true.

The statements were: “It is normal in China to cut off someone's lips if they burp in a restaurant,” “It is normal in parts of China to give children 50 lashes by a cane if they steal a piece of candy,” and “It is normal in parts of China to eat cats and dogs.”

Another question in the picture also asked whether China’s president Xi Jinping was voted to his position by the people of China.

Lim said the questions were “ridiculous” and linked it to the anti-Asian sentiment that has led to hate crimes against the Asian community in Western countries.

“Harmful rhetoric in our education system is exactly why anti-Asian hate crimes and racism persist today,” she wrote.

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Lim also tagged the Twitter accounts of the Blalack Middle School in Carrollton, Texas and the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District (CFBISD), telling them to “do better.”

CFBISD then issued a statement on Wednesday night saying that the three teachers responsible for the test have been put on administrative leave.

“Recently we learned of a situation where three teachers used inappropriate language about Asian Americans on a secondary social studies test.

“The words used on the test question were derogatory and hurtful.

“The teachers have been placed on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.”

CFBISD added that it would work on enhancing diversity training for its teaching staff to create a more “inclusive and respectful” environment.

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Lim, whose family is Korean-American, told The Dallas Morning News that she became concerned about the content of her sister’s social studies class after the teachers started covering a unit on China.

“The language that was being used when the teacher was talking about the Covid-19 virus and where it had originated in China, very broad generalisations were being made, and I was uncomfortable where the teacher could take this.

“This is a classroom full of 11 and 12-year-olds, and I was really disappointed that this language was being used in the quiz, painting such harmful and negative stereotypes.

“Even for the Asian American students in the classroom, how are they going to internalise this?” said Lim.

Anti-Asian hate crimes have been in the spotlight over the past year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, with several videos showing Asian people being assaulted on the streets in the United States.

A mass shooting by a white man at Asian-owned spas in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this month reignited the Stop Asian Hate movement, which has garnered the support of public figures ranging from K-pop star Eric Nam to US president Joe Biden.

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