school district of philadelphia responds to civil rights complaint

Here is the School District of Philadelphia's official response to the civil rights complaint filed this week by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, charging the district with discrimination against Asian students. Here it is in its entirety:
TELEPHONE (215) 400-4040

School District of Philadelphia
Response to Complaint Filed by
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Given the repeated announcements by Attorney Cecilia Chen of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund's intention to file the complaint, we are not surprised by the complaint. We look forward to cooperating with the Department of Justice in every way possible and trust that the District’s intentions and efforts in South Philadelphia will come to be characterized fairly. The Superintendent and the entire District have been working diligently to address racial tensions and reduce violence in our schools, even when they follow our children into school and we have taken the following steps:

1. Initiated a School District investigation with well respected, retired Judge James T. Giles, formerly of the U.S. District Court.

2. School review of deployment plan for safety personnel which is changed and upgraded to meet daily needs of the students

3. More visible presence of staff in the school lunchroom

4. Office of School Safety instituted the following measures:

- Added 4 school police officers for a total of 15 officers

- Within 72 hours of the assaults, completely installed brand new state of the art surveillance technology system including comprehensive coverage by new security cameras at vital locations within the building; presence of security cameras is highly visible within the building

- Working with Philadelphia Police Department to extend the safe corridors around the school

- Brought in the US Dept of Justice community relations service "SPIRIT" program – Student problem identification and resolution issues together)conflict resolution initiative

5. More staff training in cross cultural and intergenerational competency

6. Working with the State and City Human Relations Commission inquiries

7. Working with community groups, have conducted and continue to conduct workshop programs and events to promote healing and tolerance and non-violent conflict resolution.

The claim of "intentional discrimination" makes no sense. Asserting that the District would have “intentional disregard” for the welfare of its students is as outrageous as it is hurtful to so many professionals, students, and others who have been devoted to addressing these issues in a meaningful manner.
The school district specifically takes issue with AALDEF's charge of "intentional disregard" for the welfare of Asian students. Don't forget "deliberate indifference." When teachers and administrators are repeatedly informed about the escalating hostile environment towards Asian students at South Philadelphia High, but refuse/fail to do anything about it, I don't know what else you're supposed to call it. (Thanks, Helen.)

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