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Honorable Mention: Most Viewed Stories from 2015: Parents say School District Turning Blind Eye to Bullying of Asian Americans

Emilie Olsen vigil
Leah Schmitz and Lexy Seeley speak about their close friend Emilie at service marking one year anniversary of her death

By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent

(Note from the Editor: Today we begin our look at the top 5 most viewed posts from 2015).

Bullying has been an increasingly growing concern in the Asian American community. The White House Initiative on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders late this year launched a public awareness campaign on bullying, Act to Change.

The need for such a campaign is personified by the growing outrage in Fairfield, Ohio near Cincinnati over the suicide of Emilie Olsen, a 13-year old Chinese American girl who committed suicide after her parents say the school district refused to acknowledge their concerns about the bullying and harassment their child faced in school. Emily was adopted at a young age from China.

Parents packed several school board meetings expressing their outrage and the Asian American Coalition  focused its efforts on increasing the awareness of bullying in their own local community.

Among the most vocal has been Raymond Schmitz. His daughter Leah was Emilie’s best friend and also adopted from China.  Leah suffered a concussion when Schmitz says Leah was intentionally tripped by a boy who swung his hockey stick around her ankles even though she was away from both the puck and the game action.

To this date, Schmitz says he is not aware of any punishment for the boy they say is responsible.

“I would just like to say that it has been a very long year since Emilie Olsen’s death,” said Ray Schmitz recently to AsAmNews. “There have been many people who have stepped up to support the Olsen’s in this tragic time in their life. However, since the problems that led to Emilie’s suicide still exist in the Fairfield City School District, the focus of a growing number of people have spent the past year fighting for meaningful change within the district to first of all, be held accountable for the repeated failed opportunities to prevent what happened to Emilie and also to race to prevent this from happening again possibly on a much larger scale.”

The parents of Emilie recently filed a lawsuit against the district over what they considered the district’s failed response to their daughter’s plight.

“The Olsen’s legal suit appears to be in response to the Fairfield City School District’s unwillingness to enact meaningful change to address the districts rampant bullying problems that evidence shows caused Emilie Olsen to commit suicide,” said Schmitz.

While no individual story about the alleged bullying of Olsen and her best friend made the top 5, collectively our coverage of the incidents were the fifth most viewed stories of 2015.

 Additional Coverage

More than 200 remember Asian American student who killed herself one year ago

Parents of Asian American student who killed herself sue school saying she was bullied

Parents outraged at second bullying incident involving Asian American student

New evidence surfaces of bullying in suicide of Chinese American student

Suicide of Asian American student sparks outrage, but no change in school bullying policy

Parents push for accountability after bullying of Asian American student in Ohio





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