Philadelphia school district agrees to measures to quell anti-Asian violence
December 15th, 2010
06:25 PM ET

Philadelphia school district agrees to measures to quell anti-Asian violence

The Philadelphia School District signed a two-and-a-half year civil rights agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to address anti-Asian immigrant violence at a Philadelphia high school.

“Schools have an obligation to ensure a safe learning environment for everyone. We will continue to use all of the tools in our law enforcement arsenal to ensure that all students can go to school without fearing harassment,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division said.

The complaints were triggered by events on December 3, 2009, during which large numbers of Asian immigrant students from South Philadelphia High School were assaulted in and around the school throughout the day.

The attacks followed years of harassment against Asian students at South Philadelphia High School. In the days after the incident, more than 50 Asian students organized an eight-day boycott of the school in efforts to draw attention to what they felt was an inadequate response by the school to ongoing harassment and violence.

“We will always remember December 3, but we will refuse to be defined by that day,” Wei Chen, a senior at the time of the melee, told the members of the School Reform Commission where the settlement was announced. “A year ago we came to you as victims. Today we come to you as youth activists, as organizers and leaders who have shown the power to make change.”

Read more: Racial violence spurred Asian students to take a stand

The December boycott helped draw nationwide attention to the violence. Months later, a federal investigation was launched after a civil rights complaint was filed by the Asian-American Legal Defense Fund. The Justice Department, which announced its investigation in August, instructed the school system to improve the treatment of Asian students.

“It's precedent setting. It's putting schools across the country on notice they must proactively address harassment, and it’s a tremendous win for the students and their families,” said Cecilia Chen, staff attorney for the Asian American Legal Defense Fund.

The settlements require South Philadelphia High School to submit an anti-harassment action plan, and continue implementing policies and procedures to prevent harassment based on race, color and/or national origin.

The students are the winners, said Zane David Memeger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

“We hope that the investigation and our settlement agreement represent the start of a corrective action plan that eventually will eliminate student-on-student harassment in all Philadelphia public schools, not just South Philadelphia High School,” Memeger said.

The settlements, which hold the district responsible for implementation and oversight, resolve eight discrimination complaints alleging widespread harassment of Asian students at South Philadelphia High School.

“I am delighted to see this moving forward and I look forward to this being a lasting resolution,” said Stephen Glassman, chairman of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. “Harassment and bullying are huge roadblocks to an education for immigrants and other minority children.”

Though she is very happy about the settlement, it is a bittersweet, says advocate Helen Gym, a board member for Asian Americans United.

"This consent decree demonstrates that the violence at South Philadelphia High School was racial," said Gym, who helped many Asian students document their experiences. “We celebrate the lasting gains of these agreements. We hope that they are also welcomed with a measure of abiding humility and deep sorrow for the lack of action that required it.”

soundoff (287 Responses)
  1. duke

    You idiots who keep blacks in your mouth!!
    What black person said this is alright??
    Instead of aiming your frustrations at the situation at hand,you all would rather create another argument about the reporting,or some other nonsense that won't help solve the problem,
    But it will throw you off the subject!!

    December 15, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cannabotanist

    Are you kidding me...?!? I am black and lived in California and I have to say I LOVE ASIAN WOMEN, not so much the men but had 0 problems. Don't like immigrants blame the politicians, the laws of the land begin there, NOT @ the border! Immigrant this and immigrant that... blame the real culprits!

    December 15, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ALEX

    Jesse,
    Nobody forces blacks to stay here. Fell free to renounce your American citizehship.

    December 15, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew D

      If any one needs to leave it 's your hate filled ignorance you are the problem, but your so twisted and dysfunctional in your thinking that you have not a clue , this built in idea that this behavior is of any thing less then what has been past down through history by you and your type of indifference and ineptness to use the wisdom of reason is just what got us here in this behavior YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

      December 16, 2010 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bruce Lee

    Asians are indefinitely the most intelligent "race" on the planet and will no doubt take over the world in the future. The United States will eventually fall to Asian powers. When you look at what really matters (not basketball, rap, being a movie star) Asian Americans have contributed more to America than any other minority in this country. Asian Americans have a higher income than any other "race" in America and their head screwed on alot tighter. Whites, Blacks, Hispanics don't be jealous that you all just can't measure up to Asian dominance.

    December 15, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris McCabe

      and Asian American's know "alot" isn't a word, but two words actually "a lot".

      December 15, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew D

      nuts or tring to hard to be unfunny

      December 16, 2010 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike Vickerford

      asians, generally, behave normally because that all has been taught to them by their families. their families have been living in civilizations in asia, where you must behave among millions of other people in order for society to function.

      blacks are just coming off stupid laws such as "separate but equal." slavery is not that far away. these kids grow up in the ghetto and their parents aren't there for them. they are going to have behavioral problems for a long time.

      blacks do have a problem, generally speaking. you have to be an idiot to say that race isn't a factor in this situation. but it isn't the blacks' fault, at least not completely. it's really our fault, the white people. black children need discipline and love and be shown that someone cares for them. they're clearly not getting this at home.

      December 16, 2010 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ieat

    Discrimination was way worse 20 years ago than now for Asians. So I won't be so quick to say that America is getting worse.

    December 15, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mookster

    Hey what the heck?!?! I thought asians knew karate!! how could this happen??

    December 15, 2010 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • yellow__man

      Karate is no match for guns.

      December 15, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • wormwood

      i know. i do ashtanga yoga daily - i'm such a traitor. 😦

      December 16, 2010 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sandra G.

    I'm curious - you're news article doesn't state who's perpetrating the harassment. White people aren't having kids anymore - so statistically they are less likely to be the bad guy. I'm going to take a guess that it's latinos and blacks. I'm also going to guess, that if the perpetrators were white, it would have been stated in your article.

    December 15, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rember

    Remember December 7 1941

    December 15, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jadenfuregson

    I totally agree with jesse. Why do u think black ppl have a bad stigma about them lazy ignorant and slow. They just want to collect our hard earned tax payer dollars by chilling on the corner. Then when something to them they cry like a baby. The only time they ever worked hard was during slavery haha sorry got to be brutally honest. Anyway show these pol what's up! like biggie said "and now u know ......"

    December 15, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew D

      now your just trash plain trash

      December 16, 2010 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. wackyomo

    everyone smoke a joint and chill. this whole discrimination thing is so yesterday.

    December 15, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. IsBlackRacistOK

    Why didn't we hear from Jesse Jakson or Al Sharpton or NAACP spit or fart out something this time? Guess when blacks are not victims of racial discrimination then everything is fine, so much for their civil rights claims!

    December 15, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew D

      reading your trash just about does it dummy I thought I would keep it simple for you incase the lighting in the cave is not bright enough. some of you really need to stop smelling your own farts. If this is what you bring to the table than you eat with the children because you are a mess. sad but true

      December 16, 2010 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Savoeun

      It is not happening to Blacks that is why they keep silent. They are so Hypocrite organisaton. They should remember what happened to them in 30s 40s 50s 60s 70s 80s 90s. That is o.k they are going down anyway. They will not succeed in life rather in JAILS.

      December 16, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Neal

    When I see the article didn't mention the race of the perpetrator, my 136 IQ mind immediately thought it's gotta be black. I clicked on the link to the original story.. lo and behold I was right!!!

    December 15, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neal

      See look look look at the picture. All asians and whites.. is cnn trying to hide something??? Can't fool my 136 IQ HA!!!

      December 16, 2010 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • wormwood

      are you done convincing yourself now?

      December 16, 2010 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew D

      So much for the test cause you failed, the wisdom of reason is as far off from you as the test making you think you hold the ability to understand what you are even saying because the statement is a contradiction to what you think the 136 stand for, BRILLIANT!.

      December 16, 2010 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. critter

    George- and everonye else blamming blacks this is also being racist as you excluding other people. your going to tell me there no white racist in south you are cleary lying. it does not matter who does or what race does it IT MAKES NO SENSE. it is ILLEGAL TO BE RACIST.

    December 15, 2010 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • bloodline

      It SHOULD be illegal for anyone, but the double standard does exist. No one is saying there are not white racists what we are saying is that when the perpetrator is white it is clearly stated and the likes of Sharpton, Jackson and the NAACP are first on the scene with CNN cameras rolling. However, in this case blacks are responsible and it is not even mentioned anywhere in the article.

      December 16, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. critter

    wackyomo-so yesterday? really intill peace happens there going to be racist and its going to happen get used to it. there no reason for it to be happen to this day serious and your comment disgusted me.

    December 15, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ProtoMan

    Every race has its issues. Whites tolerate Keith Richards, but fear 50 Cent. There are satanic rock stars that white parents allow their kids to emulate, but when the kid wears a backwards hat and baggy draws then they get freaked out. Both thug and white trash culture are harmful to youths. Good parents need to be more vigilant about the bad parents. Blacks may listen too much to Al Sharpton's anti police rhetoric, so they don't report the thugs in their neighborhoods. It's like prison where all the races stick together for survival, but they ignore the wolves among them. I prefer to stay away from anyone of any color that I feel is trouble. CNN also would jump immediately on the hate crime bandwagon if the perpetrators were white I agree. Where is the NAACP or ACLU?

    December 16, 2010 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Neal

      I think Keith Richards is OK.. just point to him and tell your kids that's what prolonged drug use can do to your face!

      December 16, 2010 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
    • ALEX

      The perpetrators were of the wrong color. Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
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