This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
According to a press statement released Sunday, dozens of students have committed to not go back to school at South Philadelphia High School this week due to on-going concerns for their safety, in the wake of attacks on Asian students at the school.
The statement from the Asian students said that a meeting on Friday with District officials did not satisfactorily address their concerns.
The students, many of whom are recent immigrants and in the school’s ESOL program, are planning instead to meet outside school and work on a plan for improving safety. They are working with Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation and Asian Americans United to secure translators for their discussions.
NBC-10 has a report on the situation.
Here is the statement by Wei Chen, president of the South Philadelphia High School Chinese American Student Association:
"It is our opinion that South Philadelphia High School is still not a safe place for us. Because we are Asian immigrants, we are targeted. We have been working with the school a long time, but still the school has failed to provide a concrete plan to address our safety inside and outside the building.
"We remain very upset with some staff members who are unresponsive to our concerns. We have been saying repeatedly that the security team has problems, but the School District still has not responded to our concerns. One staff person even slept through our meeting last Friday.
"Because of that we will not return to South Philadelphia High School this week. Instead, we are going to meet in our community to figure out some real solutions of our own. Dozens of students have already committed to meeting during school hours. We ask the police and school district to recognize what we’re doing and respect our ability to travel between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
"We invite concerned students from all races to contact us if you want to join."