May 1, 2007
Written by C.N.
The fallout from Seung-Hui Cho’s murderous shooting rampage at Virginia Tech is already being felt — an Asian American high school student in the Chicago area, Allan Lee, has been charged with “disorderly conduct” for submitting a creative writing assignment that his teacher found “disturbing.” The linked article above contains the actual text of his writings. Here are some excerpts:
Blood sex and Booze. Drugs Drugs Drugs are fun. Stab, Stab, Stab, S…t…a…b…, poke. “So I had this dream last night where I went into a building, pulled out two P90s and started shooting everyone…, then had sex with the dead bodies. Well, not really, but it would be funny if I did.” Umm, yeah, what to wright about…… I’m leaving to join the Marines and I really don’t give a [expletive] about my academics, so why does the only class that’s complete [expletive], happen to be the only required class…enough said. . . .
My current English teacher is a control freak intent on setting a gap between herself and her students like a 63 year old white male fortune 500 company CEO, and a illegal immigrant. If CG was a private catholic school, I could understand, but wtf is her problem. And baking brownies and rice crispies does not make up for it, way to try and justify yourself as a good teacher while underhandidly looking for complements on your cooking. No quarrel on you qualifications as a writer, but as a teacher, don’t be surprised on inspiring the first cg shooting.
You can judge for yourself whether his teacher’s and high school’s reactions were appropriate. My personal view — even though his writings did not contain any specific threat to any individual or groups of people, I did find them a little disturbing. Especially given what took place at Virginia Tech and how the warning signs about Cho’s violent writings went unheeded, I am not surprised that Allan’s writing attracted some extra attention.
However, I do not think it was appropriate to arrest him and charge him with disorderly conduct. To me, that is an overreaction that is unfortunately based on Allan’s racial similarity to Seung-Hui Cho. I think a more appropriate response would have been to contact his parents and have an immediate meeting with them and psychologists so that they can get an honest assessment of his mental and emotional state, rather than automatically declaring him a threat to society and having him arrested.
Being more diligent in the wake of the VIrginia Tech shooting is one thing — overreacting and immediately condemning Allan as a criminal is a whole other matter.
Update: As reported by the Associated Press, on May 5, Allen Lee was reinstated by his school district, who will also recommend that all criminal charges against be dropped:
“The decision to readmit Lee, an honors student with a 4.2 grade-point average, followed negotiations with school district officials, said attorney Dane Loizzo. “We all reached the same conclusion, which is that he’s not a threat and never was a threat and he should be treated as such,” said Loizzo.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Student Arrested For Disturbing Essay" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/05/student-arrested-for-disturbing-essay/> ().
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