Violence is a problem at schools around Philadelphia, parents, teachers, and residents told the city’s Commission on Human Relations last night, report the Philadelphia Inquirer. At one school, neighborhood violence and gang activity has been spilling over into classrooms. An English teacher said that last week 20 teenagers had burst into her room and attacked a female student. A male classmate dropped to the floor to protect her with his body.
“After calling for security, there was nothing I could do other than stand by and watch,” the teacher told the commission, which held the first of 11 hearings on school violence. “There is little keeping our students safe within our school’s walls.” Gangs of students roam the hallways, teachers said. There is no firm discipline policy, and removing problem students is difficult. The building, which opened last year, is too large for the security staff to monitor, and the school had its third lockdown of the year last week. The hearings were convened after Asian students said they were attacked by groups of mostly African American students at one school last month.