HARRISBURG, Pa., -- Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, after hearing several hours of testimony and pleas for immediate assistance from community members in the South Philadelphia School District, voted 9-0 to launch an investigation into complaints of racial discrimination.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act gives the commission authority to "...investigate any problem of racial discrimination with the intent of avoiding and preventing the development of racial tension."
"It's clear that those testifying were expressing longstanding concerns," Chairperson Stephen A. Glassman said. "We have not drawn any conclusions about the nature, scope or extent of possible racial discrimination, but we feel strongly that we cannot stand by after such compelling pleas for our involvement."
Glassman cited a statement read to the commission by South Philadelphia High School student Michelle Nguyen:
"We are targeted because we are Asian immigrants. Every day we face taunts and violence. It hurts when we are attacked by other students. It hurts more when school staff ignore, deny or cover up the racial attacks against us."
"Nguyen and others' heartfelt pleas for our help convinced us that we must act immediately," Glassman said.
Media contact: Shannon Powers, 717-783-8266
SOURCE Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission