More than a year after the Blue Ribbon Commission on Safe Schools was convened by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and then-Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman, it has issued a 41-page report on its findings.
The report, released last week, found that Philadelphia school district violence was widespread and underreported, with reporting standards varying widely from school to school.
The district has begun implementing some of the report’s recommendations, including establishing a new protocol for reporting serious incidents and crime, modifying the zero-tolerance and expulsion policies, and making monthly school-by-school violence data publicly available.
The amended expulsion policy has reduced the number of students permanently removed from traditional district schools, from 237 last school year, to just 11 since September.
Last year, the district identified 46 schools where safety was a pressing issue; this year, it’s down to 38. Twenty-three of the so-called Focus 38 schools have experienced decreases in their violent-incident rate, the district said.
Districtwide, there has been a 2 percent increase in the rate of violent incidents this school year.
A version of this article appeared in the January 25, 2012 edition of Education Week as Phila. Report Cites Widespread Violence