south philly high asian students testify on assaults

Yesterday, Asian students from South Philadelphia High School testified at a Student Reform Commission meeting about the daylong series of assaults that sent seven students to hospitals on December 3. Many community members came in support of a 17-year-old Vietnamese student named Hao Luu: Asians tell of anguish over S. Phila. attacks..
Hao Luu's troubles began Dec. 2 when, Asian activists say, he was accosted in the hall of South Philadelphia High by a student who yanked the earphones out of his ears.

After school that day, Luu was followed by 10 to 15 students and beaten so badly that he vomited.

What followed over the next two months outraged Asian advocates: Luu was ordered transferred from the school, despite having won his case at a disciplinary hearing. He was accused of being in a gang, an allegation strongly denied by his family. At one point, officials accused Luu of taking part in a fight in 2008 - a time when he was living in Virginia, according to his family and supporters.

The case of Luu, a 17-year-old immigrant student from Vietnam, shines light on how the school district is handling students accused of playing a role in the violence that enveloped the school Dec. 3.

Yesterday, Luu's grandmother Suong Nguyen testified to the School Reform Commission, seemingly stunned by how her grandson's life has unfolded since Dec. 2. She was one of 19 to address the commission on the attacks on students at South Philadelphia High.

"Please, ladies and gentlemen," she said tearfully, speaking through a translator, "reveal Hao's case and help him clear from the wrongful accusations. . . . We would like to request for Hao's reputation to be restored."

She said that principal LaGreta Brown had promised to send a letter clearing Luu of any wrongdoing or gang affiliation, but that none had been received.
The official school district inquiry blamed the violence on unsubstantiated rumors that followed an after-school altercation between Asian and African American students the previous day -- a finding that has been widely disputed.

Over three months after these attacks, it's absolutely ridiculous that the school district has been dragging its feet to get to the truth behind what really happened. No student should go to school to be attacked or harassed, and no student should suffer the consequences of being wrongly accused of something he didn't do. More here: The Fall Guy.

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