IWAS appalled to read about the attacks on Asian students, mostly recent immigrants, at South Philadelphia High. What is equally appalling is the school's apparent inability to address the problem by increasing security, as requested by students. Dozens of Asian students, many treated in a hospital, stayed home rather than risk more attacks.

The school, designated "persistently dangerous" by the state, apparently can't stop the attacks against students who come from another culture to Philadelphia simply to learn. The state or another entity needs to step in to provide these students the opportunity to learn

to the best of their ability in a safe environment.

Elaine R. Fox, Philadelphia

Our city has had another unacceptable explosion of violence in our schools. The district's response? "Officials will also evaluate and look at data to know when and where to deploy staff."

This is an issue that requires more than looking at data. It requires curriculum changes that look beyond the needs of the school district and examines the needs of students.

Proper action would include character education that prevents bullying and promotes understanding. This training has a positive effect on crime and improves school climate, and has an impact on test scores.

These changes have to happen at the grade-school level and be continued at the secondary level. In high school, expanded intramural sports programs, and other extracurricular programs, would engage more children, promote harmony and reduce violence. We need the kids to be involved, and it would behoove us to listen to the Philadelphia Student Union and Youth United for Change.

Keith Newman, Philadelphia

At South Philly High, a news crew was interviewing a couple of the Chinese students. One had to speak through an interpreter. How can these Chinese students learn in school if they don't speak or understand English?

I'm not defending the African-American students who attacked the Chinese students, but I am concerned about the situation of the Chinese students.

I'm a kidney transplant recipient. I was at the hospital the other day getting my routine checkup. A young Chinese man went up to the receptionist, who asked, "What is your Social Security number?"

His reply: "I have none." She the asked, "where do you work?" His response: "I do not work." Who is funding people who can't speak English, have no SS number and don't work?

George J. Walton, Upper Darby

An unnecessary shooting

Re the shooting of Billy Panas by the off-duty police officer:

I grew up in Port Richmond.

Everyone knows everyone, and if you don't know someone you know of them. That's the way it was and the way it remains to this day. My parents and friends' parents broke up many fights, too many to count. Deadly force is never necessary.

This menace to any society he lives in should be locked up, not be locking people up.

Mike Franklin, Marlton, N.J.