Utah Asian Teen, David Phan, Commits Suicide

A 14-year-old boy, David Phan, who had killed himself due to extensive bullying on Thursday night outside Bennion Junior High School in Taylorsville, Utah.

David shots himself in the head in front of peers on a sky bridge just outside the school.

“The tragic death of David is another bullying related incident that occurs
far too often in our community,” said Tom Hayashi, OCA Executive Director.
“While many of the details are still emerging from the investigation,
bullying has become an epidemic inside and outside our schools that must be
addressed with swift action. We must create a culture where harassment in
all forms is unacceptable.”

According to a 2009 United States Department of Education study, APAs face
the highest rate of bullying in a classroom at nearly 20 percent more than
any other ethnic minority; as well as 10 percent more likely to be bullied
outside of school grounds. These disturbing statistics signify the
unfortunate challenges that young APAs must navigate on a daily basis.

As a national organization of advocates, OCA strongly condemns bullying and
harassment of APAs in all forms. In a similar incident in late 2008, five
APA students from South Philadelphia High School were harassed and abused by
their peers with little action taken to protect them by school officials.
OCA-Philadelphia rallied around the neglected students through community
action to bring accountability and safety. OCA has also been intimately
engaged with the military in addressing the culture of harassment and hazing
following a recent string of incidents involving APAs in uniform.

“Our community sends its thoughts to the Phan family during this difficult
time,” said Ken Lee, OCA National President. “We will continue to stand as a
resource for APAs to seek answers and solutions to prevent bullying at all

OCA is calling for a full and transparent investigation by local law
enforcement into what led to David’s death as well as strong accountability
from all parties. We will continue to monitor the situation with our local
OCA-Utah chapter and work with the appropriate agencies to change the
culture of bullying and harassment.