PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The conclusions released this week by the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission about ethnic conflicts in schools don’t surprise the director of LaSalle’s graduate education programs.

Prior to LaSalle, Harris Lewin (photo) spent more than a decade as a regional superintendant in the Philadelphia Schools and knows first-hand what a huge challenge it is just getting a handle on diversity.

“When I was at Northeast High School, for example, there (were) 70 different languages that were represented within the school and there was a need to address that in a proactive way so that students could get along better.”

Lewin says teachers are the first line of observation, but have to have linguistic and cultural support to get ahead of tensions that, if left to fester, will erupt in school and out.

He says you can’t solve this problem on the cheap, which is itself a problem in a district struggling to balance the budget.

Reported By John Ostapkovitch, KYW Newsradio.

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