If we want these Asian-American students and their peers to be able to attend a school that is safe for them, then we must get to the heart of what true school safety looks like.
A part of school safety is found in holding people accountable for their violent actions, and we can see that the District is taking steps toward this.
However, we at TAG believe that relying solely on punitive interventions -- like enhanced policing, suspensions, and arrests -- only serves to further criminalize students and lock violent behavior into place. This doesn't resolve the fundamental issues at the heart of conflict.
Instead, we believe that we need to show students that because we care about them and their development, we will provide them a path down which to move forward, to find individual transformation and community healing through the basics of talking and listening, learning about each other, validating one another's experiences.
We would like to see the School District establish Restorative Justice Practices to move toward healing in this specific situation of violence, and to get students and faculty at South Philadelphia HS dialoging about race and ethnicity, to explore differences and find points of convergence.
We would like to see resources committed by the District to have professional conflict mediation and prevention programs instituted at South Philadelphia HS, like the programs offered by the International Institute for Restorative Practices that are being used at West Philadelphia HS.
We would like to see the infrastructure provided for the faculty, administration, and student body of South Philadelphia HS to commit themselves to this type of school community transformation, including school-wide training, flexibility in the schedule for community circles, and curriculum for meaningful multicultural understanding.
And, ultimately, we would like to see these practices instituted in every school in the District.