The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund said today that it would file a complaint for civil rights violations with the federal justice department against the Philadelphia School District for failing to address violence against Asian immigrant students at South Philadelphia High School.

The complaint will charge that the school district violated the students' right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

The action was announced at an afternoon news conference by Cecilia Chen, a staff attorney with the defense fund.

Last week, as many as 30 Asian students were beaten by large groups of mainly African American students at the school. The students say they have long been targeted, often while school staff looked on.

Staff sometimes added taunts of their own, the students said.

Fifty Asian students have been boycotting South Philadelphia High since Monday.

Contact staff writer Kristen Graham at 215-854-5146 or kgraham@phillynews.com.