• Melissa Holt

    Melissa Holt is a Wheelock College of Education and Human Development associate professor of counseling psychology and applied human development; she can be reached at holtm@bu.edu. Profile

  • Christine Marsico (Wheelock’23)

    Christine Marsico (Wheelock’23) can be reached at cmarsico@bu.edu. Profile

  • Tanvi Shah (Wheelock’24)

    Tanvi Shah (Wheelock’24) can be reached at tnshah@bu.edu. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There is 1 comment on POV: Schools Must Address Harassment Based on Immigration

  1. I am so glad you created a space to talk about the perspectives in schools on students who are immigrants (or as you mentioned, perceived to be immigrants). As an elementary education major who is currently in a placement at a Boston school with a large population of first and second generation immigrant students, I have been reflecting on what school curriculums tell students about immigrants.

    I took a look at the Massachusetts History and Social Science Frameworks and saw that while many of the standards push America as a “nation of immigrants”, the stories told about immigrant groups are most often focused on their hardships or shortcomings. Even when immigrant success is highlighted it’s often in terms of gains for the United States as a whole and not as personal gains for the immigrants themselves.

    As the daughter of an immigrant myself, growing up learning about immigrants in history only in terms of what they were not able to do convinced me that immigrants weren’t destined for success. As I grew up and saw that my immigrant mother had managed to find success for herself, I figured she must be an anomaly – the single exception to the rule.

    Of course, now, I know that’s not true at all. Our country is full of amazingly successful people who just so happen to be immigrants, too. But it leads me to believe that our schools are missing something in the narratives they present on immigrants. While they should definitely highlight the injustices immigrants face, I believe they also need to leave room to highlight immigrant successes. Tell stories of people like Ilhan Omar or even Albert Einstein who came to the United States and managed to make great change not only for themselves but for the whole country.

    So, to add on to the points you make, I think that we should implement measures that will get rid of harassments based on immigration but we must also do deeper work. We need to prevent the ideologies and misconceptions that lead people to see immigrants as helpless (or even worse, as failures) from forming altogether by teaching all students that immigrants can do amazing things, too.

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