Human Relations group to investigate Asian students’ complaints

    The Human Relations Commission has law enforcement authority, which means it can subpoena witnesses and records. Stephen Glassman is chair of the Commission, which held its hearing on Monday.

    The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission has launched an investigation into recent racial violence at South Philadelphia High School. The commission voted after hearing about recent attacks on Asian students at the school. Asian students boycotted classes for eight days to protest what they see as a failure by district officials to address the problems.

    The Commission has law enforcement authority, which means it can subpoena witnesses and records. Stephen Glassman is chair of the Commission, which held its hearing on Monday.

    Glassman: We were very moved by the testimony but I must say none of us were shocked to hear this existed. I think we were quite surprised at the intensity, the level of violence at a number of schools throughout the district and the fact that it has been going on for so long without being properly addressed.

    Glassman says the testimony detailed 15 years worth of incidents in which adults failed to respond to student violence. He says this included cafeteria workers, bus drivers, teachers and guidance counselors.

    Glassman says the commission is committed to acting aggressively to make the district a safe environment for the immigrant students. The commission can order diversity training for employees and can also impose fines if necessary.

    On December 3rd, about 26 Asian students at South Philadelphia High School were attacked, predominantly by their African American peers.

    The district has stepped up security at the school and suspended 15 students.

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