Editorial: Safe passage

Stu­dents re­turned to classes at Fels and North­east high schools last week to the good news that their schools had done the hard work and be­come safer.  The two schools were taken off the state Edu­ca­tion De­part­ment’s “per­sist­ently dan­ger­ous schools” list for this year.
But two oth­er North­east Philly high schools  — Frank­ford and Lin­coln — con­tin­ued to fail the safe schools test. For the sev­enth year run­ning.
Over­all, six Phil­adelphia pub­lic schools are on the list this year, down from 12 the year be­fore. What a shame that a third of them are in the Great North­east.
Schools make the list based on the last two years’ worth of data about dan­ger­ous in­cid­ents that res­ult in ar­rest. These are  defined as weapons pos­ses­sion or a vi­ol­ent crime, ran­ging from hom­icide to as­sault. Any child who at­tends one of these “per­sist­ently dan­ger­ous schools” has the op­tion to en­roll else­where.
This may sound like just a bunch of num­ber crunch­ing, but as the old ad­age goes, you can only change what you can meas­ure. And, as the state guidelines re­cog­nize, “some schools need to take ser­i­ous steps in or­der to make their schools safer.”
We couldn’t agree more. It’s time for Frank­ford and Lin­coln to end the cli­mate of danger at their schools.
The place to start? Talk to their col­leagues at Fels and North­east about what they did to make their schools safer. Then, let every­one in the school com­munity — stu­dents, par­ents, teach­ers and ad­min­is­trat­ors — know that you ex­pect a lot, and you mean busi­ness.
Every child de­serves to go to a school that is a safe place to learn. Frank­ford and Lin­coln, do the hard work and get off the list. ••
Send let­ters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at staff@bsmphilly.com.

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