Lost in America

When the feds busted the "Black String Gang," they scratched the surface of the Vietnamese youth problem in South St. Louis. But no one's bothered to dig deeper into how it started.

"What can I do if a student ignores what I tell him?" he asks plaintively. "In Vietnam, I could force him to do it. Here, when a conflict arises between teacher and student, the policy sides with the student, because the schools need money, so they need the presence of many students. That is mad.

"Nowhere in school is a moral code taught," he concludes with disgust. In this country, that's considered the parents' job. But by the time they've scraped the day's living, parents working 16-hour days are exhausted. "If you don't have time to talk to your child," Dang says sadly, "how can you expect him to do what you wish him to do? They are bombarded with the media and the movies, and now we attribute their mistakes to them and send them to prison. We are unfair. It is our fault."

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