Friday, December 17, 2010

Anti Asian violence in Philadelphia

City school district officials agreed Wednesday to state and federal oversight for the next 2 1/2 years to address anti-Asian violence at a troubled high school that prompted a student boycott and a Justice Department investigation.

The city's School Reform Commission unanimously agreed to the consent decree involving South Philadelphia High School, where 30 Asian students were injured in racially motivated attacks last year.

The school district acknowledged no wrongdoing in signing the settlements with both the Justice Department and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, but agreed to 27 pages of reforms and reporting requirements. The oversight will be in place through June 2013.

For the first time, Asian-American activists said, high school officials will be held responsible for keeping students safe from racial and ethnic violence.

About 22 percent of the student body is Asian, some of them new immigrants.

. . . About 70 percent of the students are black at the high school, where an English as a Second Language program draws immigrants from South Philadelphia, Chinatown and other parts of the city.

Asian students have complained in recent years of relentless bullying, primarily by black students, and said school officials turned a blind eye to their pleas for help.

If the attackers were white, it would have been front page news around the world.

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