Human relations group steps in to Asian students’ dispute

    Philadelphia’s Asian community leaders and school district officials met with the members of the city’s Human Relations Commission on Monday morning to try to resolve a dispute over violence at South Philadelphia High School.

    Philadelphia’s Asian community leaders and school district officials met with the members of the city’s Human Relations Commission on Monday morning to try to resolve a dispute over violence at South Philadelphia High School. Those at the meeting called it a good first step toward resolving tensions. Racial tensions left more than 25 students injured last week. Dozens of Asian students continue to boycott the school.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091214spasian.mp3]

    The private meeting lasted more than two hours, but the group agreed not to discuss what was said.

    Kay Kyungsun Yu is the chairperson of the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission. Yu says the commission will serve as a mediator.

    Kay Kyungsun Yu: We look forward to working with doctor Ackerman, the city, community members, parents and students to make sure we ensure a safe learning environment for all children.

    Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman described the meeting as a good first step.

    Ackerman: And I say that as adults today, I believe we are stepping up saying this is not just a school district issue. This is a community issue, and we’re gonna work together on behalf of children.

    The commission plans to organize a meeting with students and parents and try to come up with an action plan. An Asian-American law firm says it plans to file a civil rights complaint with the department of justice. An attorney for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education fund says the district has a history of inaction on the issue.

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