Philadelphia’ public schools have failed to report crime consistently, offer too little help for students traumatized by violence, and fail to implement the most effective methods citywide, says a report quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer. More than a year after the Blue Ribbon Commission on Safe Schools was convened by Mayor Michael Nutter and then-School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, its work was made public last night.
The report echoes the main findings of “Assault on Learning,” an Inquirer series that found school violence widespread and underreported, with reporting standards varying widely from school to school. Some cases in which students were seriously injured were downplayed and not counted in the serious-incident tally, which stands at 30,000 over five years. “No one will know our schools are getting safer unless they can trust the data we collect and report is valid and consistent, and that there is no ‘down-coding’ or under-reporting in an attempt to make a school look safer than it is,” Nutter and acting Superintendent Leroy Nunery II wrote. Lorene Cary, chairwoman of a new committee on safety and public engagement of a school reform committee, “What has happened in the last week and a half gives urgency to this safety work,” said Cary, citing the shooting death of three teens.