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Students won't go back to S. Philly Monday

By Paul Socolar on Dec 6, 2009 10:01 PM

According to a press statement released Sunday, dozens of students have committed to not go back to school at South Philadelphia High School this week due to on-going concerns for their safety, in the wake of attacks on Asian students at the school.

The statement from the Asian students said that a meeting on Friday with District officials did not satisfactorily address their concerns.

The students, many of whom are recent immigrants and in the school's ESOL program, are planning instead to meet outside school and work on a plan for improving safety. They are working with Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation and Asian Americans United to secure translators for their discussions.

NBC-10 has a report on the situation.

Here is the statement by Wei Chen, president of the South Philadelphia High School Chinese American Student Association:

"It is our opinion that South Philadelphia High School is still not a safe place for us. Because we are Asian immigrants, we are targeted. We have been working with the school a long time, but still the school has failed to provide a concrete plan to address our safety inside and outside the building.

"We remain very upset with some staff members who are unresponsive to our concerns. We have been saying repeatedly that the security team has problems, but the School District still has not responded to our concerns. One staff person even slept through our meeting last Friday.

"Because of that we will not return to South Philadelphia High School this week. Instead, we are going to meet in our community to figure out some real solutions of our own. Dozens of students have already committed to meeting during school hours. We ask the police and school district to recognize what we're doing and respect our ability to travel between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

"We invite concerned students from all races to contact us if you want to join."

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Comments (7)

Submitted by Annoyed (not verified) on December 6, 2009 10:30 pm

Ackerman's silence on the real issues like this speaks volumes. Shouldn't the Asian students have Asian teachers according to Ackerman's logic?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 7, 2009 12:05 am

Ackermanthought...It is the teachers' fault...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 7, 2009 1:45 am

Maybe they should have an Asian CEO for the district too. Hell, maybe we all need one!

Submitted by nikki123 on December 7, 2009 6:53 am

This situation is a disgrace. I'm totally ashamed of our city and the school district certainly shares some blame for not cracking down hard last year. These students are being denied their right to an education. I loathe litigation as a means to solve problems but it appears that this might be the only way. The asian students who are being denied access to school due to risk of violence and harrassment should SUE.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 7, 2009 9:18 am

My first impression of this news: Here are some very organized and responsible young people. These students are gaining valuable life skills right now. They should be protected by the school district and high school administration. But without the support they need and deserve, they are relying on their own skill and resourcefulness, and organizing to work for what they want. Good for these kids. Hopefully, adults will follow suit and step in to help them.

Submitted by Robbie Sprinkle (not verified) on December 8, 2009 2:38 am

I hope those students who have found it difficult feeling safe at school can look at the situation as a stepping stone. When we are affected by violence it is very easy to fall into a mindset that it was "my fault." Even you do feel this, know you're not the only one and that the differences those who abused you talk about will show similarities in the end that will help them apologize and see their own disillusionment.
I hope that the anger you feel for being wronged motivates you to use your strength for expressing your true feelings and not retaliating towards your aggressors. It is my hope that you can use your experiences to see the strengths you hold as individuals and as a group to influence a positive change and resolution from what has already happened. Look at those that were aggressive and find that one thing that when the opportunity arises you can contribute to affect them in a positive way and by the time you feel this is behind you, no one will deny how much you deserve the respect that's been taken from you by violence.
many blessings...

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