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Shuang Wen Academy Network Calls NY1 Report Offensive and Misleading; Demands Apology

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Earlier this week, NY1 aired two reports raising questions about Shuang Wen, the highly regarded LES dual language school. Education reporter Lindsay Christ said the Department of Education is investigating the school’s recent decision to charge students for after-school Mandarin instruction. And she reported that the principal and members of the parent association have received threatening letters.  This morning, Winston Chow, executive director of the Shuang Wen Academy Network, responded. Here is the full text of a press release we received a short time ago:

NY1 REPORTER LINDSEY CHRIST DECEIVES PUBLIC

PARENTS OUTRAGED BY OFFENSIVE, MISLEADING NY1 REPORT ON
P.S.184M, SCHOOL DEMANDS APOLOGY

LOWER EAST SIDE, MANHATTAN – OCTOBER 14, 2010

When NY1s Lindsey Christ’s report on PS 184M Shuang Wen, a top New York City public school, aired on Monday and Tuesday night the Shuang Wen community expected a view into the nation’s first Chinese immersion program and issues the school is facing. What they received instead was a mangled, offensive distortion of life at P.S.184M.

First, Ms. Christ claimed that the school was illegally forcing parents to pay $1000 in tuition for students to attend. Using false facts, outdated materials, misrepresentative parent views and misquoted letters, Ms. Christ twisted one of the nation’s highest achieving public schools into a lowly criminal enterprise. The vast majority of parents to the 677 children attending the school were appalled. By Wednesday morning flowers, calls and letters of sympathy flooded the office of Ling Ling Chou, Principal of Shuang Wen, acknowledging NY1’s ignorance of
Shuang Wen’s history.

Lindsey Christ’s second report on October 12th, highlighting threats made to the staff at P.S. 184M did little to console the outraged community. The threats, Ms. Christ reported, mocked the ethnic Chinese community. In the report, Parent Association Co-President Gale Elston is quoted saying the threats are “a hate crime” with “strong anti-Chinese sentiments.” Yet, Christ then proceeds to press that the bigoted threats are actually the fault of the Shuang Wen staff, saying that they are “an unfortunate outgrowth of a school culture that doesn’t tolerate dissent.” Christ goes further in blaming Shuang Wen for causing anti-Chinese sentiment in the community saying that the staff’s behavior instigated such “inappropriate behavior.”

“The report is offensive and ridiculous,” says Winston Chow, Executive Director of SWAN, the non-profit organization that runs Shuang Wen’s after-school program. “It rationalizes, and practically defends the bigoted threats Shuang Wen’s staff has been facing. It clearly demonstrates how ignorant Ms. Christ is of P.S. 184M and the community it serves.”

Ms. Christ’s unethical and unprofessional work has also provoked backlash from Shuang Wen parents. “Congratulations to you,” Wrote Trinh Eng, a parent and member of the SWAN Board, addressed to Ms. Christ, “Us parents will just have to start figuring out how to continue raising money to subsidize a program that serves over 95% of the student body in the wake of your dishonest Franken-reporting.”

Parent Association officials featured in Ms. Christ’s report have already informed Shuang Wen that they will be launching a petition and formal complaint, in support of the school.

The School, the parents and SWAN are demanding a formal apology from NY1 reporter Lindsey Christ. The deeply offensive, biased and inaccurate portrayal of P.S. 184M and SWAN, has parents and the community clamoring for NY1 to be held accountable for damages to the school’s hard-won reputation.

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