June 26, 2011
R. Seth Williams is district attorney of Philadelphia When I visit town-hall meetings and school assemblies, I often ask the same question: "What is the one thing that most people who get arrested in Philadelphia have in common?" The answer: They did not graduate from high school. One of the key solutions to curbing crime is ensuring that more Philadelphia children earn their diplomas. This is why, to combat truancy, I have partnered with the School District, Family Court, the Police Department, and the Department of Human Services.
September 24, 2010 |
Responding to a proposal from the school district's new security chief to increase safety, discipline and instructional practices at 46 troubled schools, critics said yesterday that the plan may not be effective in a system long plagued by violence and other crime. Glenn McCurdy, a former community builder who once monitored school-community relations for the district, contended that the plan would barely scratch the surface of a systemic problem of truancy and violent behavior in the schools, and would continue to criminalize students.
September 13, 2010
ITAKE ISSUE with your headline "On 2nd Day, Even More Teachers are Truant. " If you took it at face value, you'd be led to believe that teachers are irresponsibly abandoning their posts. But the article indicates that only 1.5 percent of teachers were absent, and all but a few called out according to procedure. I assume that any large corporation has similar absentee rates. Teachers have an allotted number of personal days, and it's not for the district or the Daily News to scrutinize when teachers use what they're entitled to. While a few students didn't have their regular teachers, there were capable per diem teachers to assume that role.
July 19, 2010 |
MOST KIDS WHO get bullied don't tell a soul. Far fewer may report the harassment to their parents or teachers. When Ziainey Stokes was teased incessantly by a couple of bullies at her West Philadelphia Catholic school, she wrote a letter to the president of the United States. And he replied. Buoyed by this, the soft-spoken, precocious 11-year-old is now on a mission to end bullying by creating an organization that would help others find their voice and urge adults to pay attention - starting with President Obama.
April 5, 2010
AS THE parent of a high-school student, I'm very displeased with what the police are doing nowadays. A short while ago, my son, a student at University City High, was going to school. He doesn't have to be there until 9. That morning, he happened to wake up late, so he was running late - but he was going. As he walked up the steps to the school, he was told he had to go with the cop to the truancy van. Truant means absent from school without permission. If he was on his way into school, no way he should have been taken away from there.
March 30, 2010 |
Every day, about 12,000 Philadelphia students are out of school with no excuse. Every year, the Philadelphia School District, city courts, and the Department of Human Services spend $15 million on truancy-prevention programs. Historically, a lack of coordination among the three means that many students still slip through the cracks - leading not just to truants, but also to dropouts. There are about 95,000 children under DHS care in city schools and in out-of-school programs.
March 27, 2009 |
Starting today, playing hooky in Philadelphia is about to get more expensive. City Council yesterday unanimously passed an ordinance that would slap a $25 fine on the parents of school-age children found wandering the city between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on school days. The measure - endorsed by the school district and the Police Department - gives any city law-enforcement officer the authority to obtain the name, age, and address of the youth caught skipping school and of his or her parent or legal guardian.
March 11, 2008
IT'S IRONIC that Principal Chris Johnson of Ben Franklin High School says "you can't just kick a kid out of school. That's not how it works. There has to be a series of incidents. " The school district doesn't apply the same rule to students as it does to teachers. If a teacher complains about violence or lack of support to the Safe Schools hotline, he is kicked out of his job immediately. Students can curse at teachers, beat teachers up, get into lunchroom melees and nothing happens.
February 5, 2008
IT'S TOO EARLY to know what impact the loss of $21 million in after-school and truancy-prevention programs will have on the city, following Mayor Nutter's announcement last week that he was cutting that amount from Philadelphia Safe & Sound's budget. And until the state Department of Public Welfare completes its audit of the agency, it's too early for anyone to guess which programs will be restored, reduced or eliminated. But it's not too early to say this: what a mess. Former Mayor John Street, eager to stamp out truancy and prevent violence, gave a $75 million contract to Safe and Sound, a private agency that channels many city dollars to social-services providers.
February 13, 2007
THE CITY'S CRACKDOWN on curfew violators appears to be working in South Philadelphia. Since July 2006, when the Dixon Curfew Center opened and police made curfew enforcement more of a priority, juvenile shootings plummeted in the area, covered by the 1st and 17th Police Districts. In the 1st, shootings were down 60 percent; in the 17th, the drop was 83 percent. Police say there has been a tremendous improvement in the area. This is the kind of news city residents need to hear more of, especially from an administration that has not offered the silver bullets residents yearn to hear on the problem of violent homicides.