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Strawberry Mansion profiled as one of ‘America’s most dangerous high schools’

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

by Mark McHugh

[Update 2: ABC has posted two stories, one a preview of the segment, and the other a first-hand account by a school English teacher.]

[Update: The segment has been postponed again and is now scheduled for Thursday night at 6:30 p.m., and again on Nightline at 12:35 a.m.]

Strawberry Mansion High School is about to gain national exposure as one of America’s most dangerous high schools from ABC’s Diane Sawyer. A profile of the school will air tonight at 6:30 p.m. on World News With Diane Sawyer as part of its “Hidden America” series that sheds light on America’s neediest people and places.

Strawberry Mansion, which regularly appears on the state’s list of "persistently dangerous schools," has been designated for turnaround status and will become a Promise Academy in the fall. To get a glimpse of what life is like inside the school and how administrators plan to transform its environment, Sawyer talked to the school’s principal, Linda Cliatt-Wayman.

Due to poor student performance and under-enrollment, the school was targeted for closure earlier this year, a decision that faced loud and vocal opposition from the community. Later, in a reversal, Superintendent William Hite spared the school from closing in what he said was a unique opportunity "to create schools with high-quality programs that will be an attraction to students who live in that area – and beyond."

Mark McHugh is an intern at the Notebook.

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