In the past three weeks, three Asian students at Lafayette High
School have been victims of violent attacks - a sudden spike that is worrying students and
"There's something going on," said a source at the Brooklyn school, which has
a long history of racial tensions, particularly aimed at Chinese and South Asian immigrant
In the latest attack, senior Siukwo Cheng, an A-student on track to be valedictorian,
was beaten by a group of black youths just outside the Bensonhurst school.
During the school day, Cheng, 18, had confronted a group of black students who were
harassing a teacher, according to the student and several teachers.
"They told my teacher to shut up," Cheng said.
Later, as he walked out the school gate, he was jumped. Cheng said he couldn't identify
his attackers but he remembers them yelling ethnic slurs at him.
"I was on the floor being attacked like trash," Cheng said yesterday. "I
was being kicked and punched, and I'm so embarrassed."
School police are investigating the incident, according to David Chai, a spokesman for
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.
But teachers, students and parents told the Daily News that Lafayette is out of control
and that new immigrant students, who are perceived as weak and less likely to report
crimes, often end up victimized.
"We are being threatened," said Cheng, whose parents sent him to New York
from Hong Kong two years ago to learn English and get a better education. "They use
disgusting words I don't even want to say."
On Nov. 21, a Chinese student was mugged at knifepoint on the campus, according to
sources, and a week later another Chinese student was beaten up in a cafeteria fight.
The mugging victim's mother said she had always worried about her son's safety at
"Every day I stay home and think, 'Today, I don't know what will happen,'"
The new batch of security agents deployed at Lafayette have managed to keep kids from
roaming the hallways, students said.
But teachers were skeptical that the Education Department would keep the extra security
measures in place.
"As soon as they leave, we're back to square one," said one fedup teacher.