Earlier this week, some bullies physically attacked a 16-year-old Asian-American boy in California’s San Fernando Valley in his high school because he was accused of having the coronavirus.
This is the latest incident in a spree of racist attacks linked to the global public health emergency over the new coronavirus, which is now officially called COVID-19.
On Thursday, executive director of the L.A. County Human Relations Commission Robin Toma said, “He went to the hospital originally, and went to the emergency room. They were taking MRIs to ensure he didn’t have a concussion or other harm.”
The Los Angeles police are now investigating the case. The officials did not release the names of the accused and victim. They also did not give any further details about the attack.
Debra Duardo, L.A. County Superintendent of Schools, said, “Our goal is to send out accurate information to all of our 80 districts, reaching over 2 million children. To tell them that there is no need for excessive fear, that there is very minimal risk of contracting the coronavirus, and that we will not tolerate any type of bullying.”
The United States officials have reported 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far, reassuring that patients have been quarantined and treated.
L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis said, “Anyone that discriminates in that manner and puts out false information should be investigated and I understand the FBI is launching an investigation.”
Some officials said Asian-Americans have been targeted due to unfounded suspicions of the new coronavirus across the nation. A similar incident has been reported last week in Texas.
Toma said, “Many may be quick to assume that just because someone is Asian or from China that somehow they are more likely to be carriers of the virus. We need to speak out against this when we see it. We need to speak up, not be bystanders, be upstanders.”
Duardo noted that such incidents should not happen and the change in behavior is needed, which likely starts with parents.
“Hate is something children learn,” said Duardo. “It doesn’t come naturally to them.”