asian south philly high students seeking safety elsewhere

A brief update on the situation at South Philadelphia High School. As announced, about fifty Asian students who fear for their safety are boycotting the school this week. Last week's attack on 26 students are indicative a broader, long-standing systemic problem at the school: Tensions at S. Phila. High longstanding, students say.

Last week, seven students were treated for minor injuries after at least five separate attacks. According to students, fights between African American and Asian students started last Thursday on the streets and spilled over into the school building.

The breakdown of school enrollment at South Philly High is 70 percent African American, 18 percent Asian, about 6 percent white, and 5 percent Latino.

There appears to be a fundamental disagreement about what is happening here, and how to address it. The school district is treating the attacks like a regular ol' school scuffles, and refuses to acknowledge the possibility that these attacks are indeed racially motivated, and that Asian kids are being targeted and under assault.

In this local NBC news segment, Regional Superintendent Michael Silverman dismisses last week's incident as a simple fight in the community that spilled into the school: 26 Asian Students Attacked at Philly High School NBC Philadelphia. "That doesn't make it racial," he says. I don't know how this guy can say that with a straight face.

This blog post, by Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News, is a more realistic take on what's really going on: Fear and loathing in South Philadelphia.

UPDATE: Here's a another good story that delves a little more into what Asian students perceive as the district's failure to deal with the continuing violence at South Philadelphia High, and a refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of last week's attacks: Asian students vow to continue school boycott.

angry archive