"That's How We Roll": A Case Study of a Recently Arrived Refugee Student in an Urban High School

Kevin Roxas, Laura Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This critical case study of one, Somali Bantu male high school student illuminates the struggle for recently arrived refugees at the high school level. Few educational research studies describe how recently arrived refugee students and their families make their transition to US schools (Ngo et al. in Hmong Stud J 8:1-35, 2007; Hones and Cha in Educating new Americans: immigrant lives and learning. Erlbaum, Mahwah, 1999; Igoa in The inner world of the immigrant child. Erlbaum, Mahwah, 1995). Studies that examine how race, county of origin, and low socio-economic status affect refugee students also are few in number. Specifically Kamya (Soc Work 42:154-165, 1997) argues that there is a compelling need for research that investigates how racism and stereotypes of Black Americans affect the experiences of African black immigrants and refugees. Rong and Brown (Educ Urban Soc 2:247-273, 2002) add that black newcomers students often face a triple disadvantage of being black, having limited access to educational opportunity, and being poor. These challenges are particularly relevant for high school students as they have a limited amount of time to acquire proficiency in English and content area knowledge before transitioning to post-secondary education or the work force. In order to better understand how some of these processes work for a recently arrived refugee student in an urban school district, this paper examines the educational adaptation and coping strategies of one Somali Bantu male high school student and his family to the US public school system during the 2007-2008 school year through the lens of intersectionality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-486
Number of pages19
JournalUrban Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Urban Studies


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