Monday 16th October 2017,

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Newswork: Racial Strife at South Philly High Much Improved

posted by Randall

Wei ChenIn 2009 at South Philly High, the racial tension was so bad, former student Wei Chen (pictured) wouldn’t go to the bathroom.

Both the basement and bathrooms lacked security cameras and both places were known to be areas where Asian kids were often beaten.

This month the school held a Tet celebration to mark the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.  That’s something most couldn’t imagine could have happened five years ago, according to Newswork.

“Anti-Asian, anti-immigrant sentiment and violence happened pretty much on a regular, like daily basis,” said another former student Duong Ly.

Both Ly and Chen led a student boycott of the school five years ago after more than two dozen Asian students were attacked by other students.

Teachers back then were heard mocking the accents of Asian students and often looked the other way when those students were picked on by others. The boycott lead to a federal investigation, the firing of the principal and major changes at the school.

A new principal brought in made significant changes including integrating English language learners with the rest of the student body so they wouldn’t be so segregated. Incidents of violence have been decreased 60 percent at the school and the same principal, Otis Hackney, remains.

You can read about how he transformed the school and what students are saying today in Newswork.

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