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A Philly first: No schools on Pa.’s ‘persistently dangerous’ list

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

For the first time since the designation has been in place, zero Philadelphia School District schools have been deemed "persistently dangerous" by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The label has been used since the creation of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

In each of the last four years, reported violent incidents in the District have been on the decline.

Between this year and last, the total number of violent incidents districtwide declined 9.9 percent, from 2,758 to 2,485.

Student enrollment dropped in that time from 149,535 to 135,149. Still, the rate of violent incidents per 100 students remained statistically unchanged, moving from 1.84 to 1.83.

"More students are making the right choices, and our principals, teachers, and school staff members are providing the right supports and guidance," said Superintendent William Hite in an official release. "We are very proud of what our school communities continue to accomplish even with the limited resources they have."

The news comes as schools last year were stripped of resources. Many schools shared nurses and guidance counselors and saw declines in their ranks of non-teaching aides.

Some teachers worry that staffing shortages cause some incidents to go unreported.

District Police Chief Carl Holmes doubted the veracity of that view.

"That can always be a possibility. However, my philosophy and our practice is that anything that’s even ‘up-in-the-air,’ I want reported as a criminal activity," he said. "That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to pursue an arrest, but we’re going to investigate it."

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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