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. ••
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