VietAID hosts Asian American Mental Health Discussion

On March 18, VietAID hosted the Truth from Youth event centered around hearing Asia American students share their experiences at BPS schools. 

The event was used to present data collected from students to share experiences that they have faced at Boston Public Schools. It was split into two sessions, the first only for students and a second for the presentation from students to adults. 

The goal of the event was to spread awareness of how Asian American students feel, helping to start conversations about how to make sure that all students feel safe and supported in Boston Public Schools. 

Mr. Steven Chen, assistant head of school at BLS, sums up the question that the event aimed to address: “Where do Asian students fit in the work that the district is doing to support our students of color?”

Data from the event was collected from student responses to the district’s 2018-2019 school climate survey and asked students a variety of questions. Researchers divided those answers based on race and ethnicity at 6 Boston High Schools. Responses showed that Asian American students often felt that the school curriculum did not reflect them or that teachers and staff were not interested in their well-being. 

In addition to this event, BLS ASIA hosted a discussion of starting Asian American Mental Health conversations with parents. It featured student speakers who talked about the best strategies to approach these conversations with parents in the most effective way. 

Mr. Andy Zou, English and history teacher at BLS, comments on Asian American Mental Health challenges: “It’s great that schools are trying their best, but you can only do so much at school.”

Around 9 percent of BPS students are Asian American, though at exam schools including BLS they fill between a fifth and third of seats. This difference leads to some students feeling that they were not being heard or understood by their teachers. 

Ava Vu (III), who was one of the Mental Health Speakers at the BLS ASIA, comments on how new students could adapt to BLS. 

“Join clubs really helps, I’ve joined a lot of clubs since I was a sixie and that’s how I’ve grown as a person. So I think that really helps,” concludes Vu.