To most observers, the violence that erupted at South Philadelphia High School back in December — wherein a large group of African-American students attacked Asian students, seemingly at random — wasn’t necessarily a new thing, just a more fierce iteration of a pattern that had been established for some time. The tensions had been reported in the media well prior to the December incidents, and after Asian students staged a walkout, the School District Of Philadelphia was forced to launch an independent investigation into just what happened, with an eye towards resolving the situation once and for all. Sadly, the results of that investigation are total disappointment, according to Asian-American activist Helen Gym. In a post on The Notebook, a blog devoted to Philadelphia Public Schools, Gym outlines how the report glossed over in every way it could the culture of racism and violence that has emerged at SPHS, after the school district dragged its feet and obfuscated facts in the wake of December’s violent outbreak. By Gym’s count, the report almost completely ignored the history of violence at SPHS, conducted limited interviews, paid little attention to racial bias and relied on rumor and innuendo as fact. The overall message was that, much like it was during the student walkout (which finally put some heat on the School District via intense media covereage), it was the District’s desire to gloss over the events and the culture that surrounds them completely. By the looks of things, they finally got their wish. For now.
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