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Are Asian Students at South Philly High Becoming a Target? Answer may not be Black and White

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During a school board meeting on December 9th, School Chief Arlene Ackerman opened the meeting saying that the violence at South Philly is senseless and was quoted as saying, "In our rush to sensationalize this latest incident, let us not as adults criminalize or victimize any racial group of students with a stroke of the pen or careless words of blame and finger pointing." Ackerman made these comments in the wake of numerous racial assaults levied against Asian students at South Philadelphia High School.    

Well Arlene, it may be time that the stroke of the pen truly addresses this hot-button issue.

The facts are that more than 200 people packed the school board to support Asian students who were being attacked. Dozens of students testified that Asian students have become a target at South Philadelphia High School and despite pleas from these members of the student body, they were forced to leave the school building despite their expressed concerns of being assaulted upon leaving and were hurt and frightened.

The fears of these students have been ignored and group of unruly students have been allowed to wander through the school building for hours at a time while attacks last Thursday happened both inside and outside of the school.

Asian students have begun to boycott the school and have stated that while it hurts to be physically abused by fellow students they are even more distressed that school officials have not listened to their cries for hell and have in essence thrown them into the Lion’s Den.

The students believe they have been targeted because they are Asian immigrants and prior to the violence bestowed upon them, they were faced with constant verbal taunts which were never addressed by the administration.

While the school board and the administration have claimed a full investigation is underway, this did not occur under a full week after the incident. One has to wonder if these senseless beatings were just something the entire administration was hoping would be swept under the rug.

The tragic issue here is that good, hard-working students are now living in fear and scared to obtain their right to an education. The ramifications of this negligence run deep and could alter the future academic careers of these students and provide added stress to these families.

The time has come for these racial assaults to stop and to make South Philadelphia High School a safe haven where students could concentrate on their academics and not survival.