The results of a retired federal judge’s investigation into the December racial violence at South Philadelphia High are expected to be released today.
Philadelphia School District officials say they will release a summary of Judge James T. Giles’ report into the Dec. 3 violence at the school.
Superintendent Arlene Ackerman directed Giles to complete the investigation, write a report, and make recommendations to the district.
Cecilia Chen, attorney for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said she had not seen the report, but "from what I know from talking to the students who were interviewed, it seems like the scope of the report is very limited."
Though about 30 students were attacked, only a handful were interviewed by Giles or his associate, said Chen, whose agency has filed a federal civil rights claim over the issue.
Giles "hasn’t spoken to any of the advocates who were working with the students, or to many of the students who were involved," Chen said.
On Dec. 3, large groups of African American and Asian students attacked about 30 Asian students, several of whom required treatment at a hospital. Some of the attackers went classroom to classroom looking for students to target.
District officials said those attacks were retaliatory, prompted by the attack the day before of a disabled African American student by Asian students. Activists working with the students disagreed that retaliation motivated the Dec. 3 attacks.
Asians don’t start fights. That’s why we’re called the model minority! Where is this disabled student and why hasn’t he come forward?
In addition to the federal civil rights complaint, a deputy Vietnamese ambassador to the U.S. has asked the State Department to monitor the South Philadelphia situation.
In addition to asking Giles to investigate the incident, the district made other changes, from more security cameras and police officers to diversity training for students and staff.
Giles is a graduate of Yale Law School who spent nearly 29 years as a trial judge, including seven years as Chief Judge of the U.S. Eastern District. He retired from the bench in 2008 and is currently an attorney specializing in mediation and arbitration for Pepper Hamilton LLP.