Panelists discuss school violence
Issue date: 2/5/10 Section: News
In the aftermath of the attack, many of the Asian students at the school boycotted classes for a period of time. Since the attacks, pundits and media outlets have weighed in on the issues facing South Philadelphia High, as well as the public education system in Philadelphia and the nation as a whole.
In response to the heavy media coverage on the racial tension at South Philadelphia High School, the Center for the Prevention of School-Aged Violence sponsored and presented the symposium, "South Philadelphia High School: Diversity, Bullying and School-Aged Violence Challenges and Solutions" Feb. 1.
Professor Chuck Williams, director of the Center, said that the symposium's main function was to start a community-based dialogue on the recent acts of violence and to propose solutions.
"South Philly High School was the jumping point," Williams said. "We wanted to approach these problems from a strong community aspect."
Williams explained that the purpose of the symposium was not to discuss juvenile delinquency or criminal justice theory, but to address the issue in a way that was more preventative than reactionary.
"There [have] always been issues in the South Philly schools, just because of the territorial divide in the neighborhood," Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel told The Philadelphia Inquirer. . Bethel attributes the racially motivated attacks partly on "geographical factions that developed."Williams, however, believes the reasons are more sociological.
"Why do we have so much racial tension at South Philly High, [or] in America? It's learned. They were taught this by adults," Williams said.
He also said he believes that when the Asian students were targeted; they were a scapegoat.