This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
We have it on good authority that South Philadelphia High School principal LaGreta Brown was among those honored last week by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell with the Lucien E. Blackwell Guiding Lights in the Community Award.
The Notebook asked Councilwoman Blackwell’s office to confirm the list of honorees — something we thought she would be eager to do — but we did not hear back.
Amy Brisson, a correspondent for the Delaware County Times who wrote a story highlighting presentation of the awards to the mayors of Chester and Upper Darby, confirmed that Brown received an award. Brisson said she recalls a mention of "controversy" and the desire to show full support for Brown by giving her this award.
Brown has come under criticism for her handling of intergroup tension and harassment of Asian students at South Philly, which burst out into the open in December when 30 Asian students were attacked during and after school. About 50 Asian students subsequently boycotted classes for two weeks, saying they feared for their safety.
Throughout, Brown has largely stayed out of view. She has not been public or proactive in detailing how she is addressing the situation. She has not commented on or spoken publically about revelations of continuing incidents, including one in March in which an Asian student was hit in the head by a bathroom door and sufferd dizziness and headaches.
The Asian American Legal Defense Fund has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice and the incidents are also being probed by the state and city human relations commissions.