What the hell is happening in Philadelphia? Yesterday, 26 Asian students at South Philadelphia High School were attacked and beaten by a gang of other students throughout the day: Asian students under attack at S. Phila. High.
District officials said that ten students have been suspended. (That's it?) No arrests were reported, but students who were outside the school yesterday said they had seen students being led out of the building in handcuffs. Well, that's great -- but how about some actual arrests and charges?
This is just the latest in several ongoing incidents of violence against Asian immigrant students that were reported at the school last year. Can you blame these students -- many of whom came to the U.S. specifically to attend school -- for just wanting to stay home? It beats going to school under fear of getting your ass kicked every day, all day.
This week's spate of attacks began Wednesday, when a Vietnamese student was jumped by 14 students across the street from the school. Yesterday, the attackers were apparently roaming the halls "searching for victims class by class during school.":
About 12:30 p.m., Tian and two friends were heading to the cafeteria when someone ran up and hit him in the head from behind, Tian said through Lin, who translated.It's a simple fact: Asian students are getting attacked for being Asian. Maybe they're perceived as a weak target, or less likely fight back. I don't know. The incidents often go unreported because the victims often have a language barrier or choose to suffer in silence rather than risk retaliation.
"I tried to escape," Tian, a freshman, said. "I ran and they chased me and beat me on the nose."
His friend Shan Chen, 18, also a freshman, was pushed to the ground, punched and kicked, Chen said.
Seven of the victims, including Tian, were treated at Methodist Hospital for scrapes and bruises.
I'm astounded that this news article makes absolutely no mention of the obvious racism and discrimination that's happening here. According to this article, district officials are actually saying they "do not believe the attacks were racially motivated." Are you kidding me?
I first heard about the violence against Asian students at South Philadelphia High a few months back. It looks like the situation hasn't improved much, though school officials insist that assaults in the school are down by 50 percent. Those statistics aren't very comforting to any Asian kid who was on the receiving of a group beating this week.
Again, I have to ask, what the f#@% are school administrators doing to stop this? Michael Silverman, the regional superintendent for high schools, says they've been "working with the Asian community since last year to make sure that South Philly High is an inviting place." I'm sorry, Mr. Silverman, you're doing a shit job. Here's some contact info:
Comprehensive High School Regional Sueprintendent
The School District of Philadelphia
3133 Ridge Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19132
Here's contact information for South Philadelphia High School:
South Philadelphia High School
2101 South Broad Street
Philadelphia PA 19148
Here's general contact information for the school district:
The School District of Philadelphia
440 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia PA 19130
Here contact info for the school board and the mayor:
School Reform Commission
Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, Commissioners Robert Archie, Johnny Irizarry, Joseph Dworetzky, David Girard-DiCarlo, and Denise Armbrister.
Emails (cc all of them): firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Michael Nutter
cc: email@example.com (City Ed Secretary), firstname.lastname@example.org
He considers himself an education mayor, and it would be good for him to know that this problem has reached concerned folks from all over the country.
Finally, letters to the editor are helpful as well:
300 words max, please sign with name, full address, email and a reachable phone number (not for publication) - but they will call you on that number and require you to verify your letter - and, if you wish, an email that you would allow to be printed.
Philadelphia Daily News
Usually shorter, 200 words, same thing as above for signing.
Philadelphia Public School Noteboook
Do what you will with this information. If anyone has other school district contact information that might be more useful or relevant to this situation, please pass it along. Finally, I leave you with this blog post by Helen Gym of Asian Americans United (email@example.com), calling for action instead excuses on the part of the administration at South Philadelphia High School: Racial assaults at South Philly: What went wrong. (Thanks, Helen.)