Crime spiked in Philadelphia schools last year, hitting a record level, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Nearly 15,000 criminal incidents were reported, a 14 percent jump from the previous school year, says an analysis by Philadelphia’s safe schools advocate. The number of serious crimes, however, dropped by 7 percent, and district officials say all crime is down by 11 percent so far this school year. No students were expelled last school year – even those who brought guns to school.
Under Superintendent Arlene Ackerman this school year, the district has begun taking school crime more seriously and expelling its most violent students. Iproved incident reporting means that officials have a better grip on the state of violence inside Philadelphia’s 281 public schools, said the state-appointed advocate, Jack Stollsteimer. James Golden, the district’s security chief, agreed that district discipline is improving. “I think it owes, in part at least, to the new zero-tolerance policy, the number of expulsions, the stepped-up disciplinary measures that have been taken,” Golden said. “We know that the trend for us is positive.”