IT'S TRULY sad to see that no progress has been made in the School District to come to grips with the racism that gnaws at our society. That no sustained effort has been made to stop such ethnic conflicts at South Philly High over the years is disgraceful. All we get after a racial explosion is more cops, more cameras, more expulsions.

We know the children come to school with dysfunctional attitudes regarding race and faculty often come with the same attitudes and additional bias regarding class. But we have every right to expect education leaders to address these issues as part of both the instructional program and school climate.

The slow response by the superintendent to the incident at South Philly, as pointed out in your editorial, showed such incompetence or indifference as to be unbelievable.

Why did Dr. Ackerman and the mayor find the incident unworthy of timely public response, knowing, as they do, that silence means assent? And why was a principal with such a questionable history hired to lead such a troubled school?

Our community must demand zero tolerance of racism - especially by those who are supposed to set examples, provide leadership, and serve as role models to all citizens.

Mary Goldman, Philadelphia

I believe Mr. Verlin, the letter-writer who's a teacher at South Philly, is in Make-Believe-Land.

Mr. Verlin has failed to address the issue at hand, which is and has always been blatant racism against Asian-Americans. Black students have been beating and terrorizing Asian-Americans at the school and have had permission from the adults there to do so without fear of reprisal.

No one at the school protected these children, not the principal, teachers, security guards or the school district. The principal and the teachers who did nothing to stop the violence should be dismissed by the School Board.

Bravo to all the students who staged a strike so that the

superintendent and the mayor of Philadelphia would acknowledge there was a problem.

Tina Bellosi

Philadelphia

Once again, Al (I Have a Big Mouth) Sharpton has managed to crawl out from under a rock to lead an investigation into the beating of an innocent (I'm sure) Frankford High School student (did I mention he's black?).

Why doesn't Al take himself over to South Philadelphia High and speak with the Asians from that school and stand up for their rights? (Maybe because they're not black?)

And with regard to the principal at South Philly, why was she ever hired by the School District in the first place? Hooray for the Asian

students - I hope they take this all the way.

Ellie Hughes

Philadelphia