The Philadelphia School District held a second annual student antiviolence conference last Saturday with more than 1,000 students, parents, and community leaders participating, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The event featured 30 workshops and panel discussions addressing bullying, truancy and conflict resolution. Half the workshops were facilitated by students. Paul Vallas, the district’s chief executive officer, is trying to identify a “student leadership core” and to help develop them as role models.
There have been three brawls at or near a public high school in the last month. A fight broke out inside one school Friday, resulting in 13 arrests, including one in the alleged assault of a police officer. Four students went to the hospital with minor injuries after the fight, between two rival groups of girls from public housing developments. School officials say violence has decreased since last year. Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15, the number of assaults dropped to 515 from 553, the number from the same period last year. Starting this year, the district has placed a police officer in every school, implemented stricter clothing policies, and expanded the number of alternative disciplinary schools.