Schools and Philly leaders demand more actions to keep students safe

Helen Gym: “We should be guaranteeing the safety of young people.”

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Shavonne McMillan: “There is a war going on these streets of Philadelphia.” Photo:

In North Philadelphia, the Principals’ union, City Council and parents held a news conference Wednesday to demand solid actions to keep students safe. Several episodes of gun violence have occurred during this academic year near Philadelphia schools.

As reported by CBSPhilly, City Councilmember Helen Gym stood with the principals’ union and called on the school district to fill the 600 job vacancies it has. Some of the positions include counselors, nurses and safety staff.

“We should be guaranteeing the safety of young people,” Gym said. She’s also calling for school safety zones to be expanded and for more after-school programs.

“This is not just for the district to solve, this is not for principals just to deal with on their own. It is not a problem that can be solved solely through policing. We need a full-scale investment in young people both inside and outside of schools,” the Councilmember said.

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According to Principals, the violence surge students are suffering is the result of a failure in the whole system that has nurtured “a war.” “There is a war going on these streets of Philadelphia and it’s because the system may have failed many of our babies who lack knowledge of self, who lack love, who lack resources, who lack access, and who do not have the ability to dream,” Principal of Vaux Big Picture High School in North Philadelphia, Shavonne McMillan said.

Parents involved

Maritza Guridy is part of the National Parents’ Union and the northeast regional organizer. She also has four children in the Philadelphia School District. Guridy claims that parents need to take part of the decisions concerning the students safety.

“They have to ask the parents, ‘What do you think your school need to make it safer?’ Conversations are not being had with families. We know what’s going on in the streets because our children are walking these streets every single day,” she said.

“Children should be safe going in the school building. They should feel safe going to school and coming home from school,” Guridy added.

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