Effective immediately, school administrators are required to suspend a student or group of students for 10 days with intent to expel when there is a reasonable and probable ground to believe that a student or group of students has:  

 Assaulted an adult or another student;    

 Possessed or has transported onto school property materials to utilize as potential weapons.

Committed or incited an act of violence; 


If you commit offenses in any of the aforementioned categories you will neither remain at your present school nor will be transferred to another District school. Instead, I will recommend that you be immediately enrolled in an alternative school placement and, pending the result of an expulsion hearing by the School Reform Commission, will not be allowed to return to a District school for a minimum of one year. Expulsions may be permanent. LINK

These are the words of Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Arlene “the Queen” Ackerman taken directly from the school district’s web page, directly from her “Zero Tolerance” policy letter. Of course this policy is a complete and total farce as is her continued “leadership” of this district. Under Arlene Ackerman, some Philadelphia public schools are a very dangerous places. We saw this clearly last year when there were racially motivated attacks against Asian students in South Philly H.S. Ackerman badly mishandled that fiasco, yet somehow survived.

As a parent I get first hand information from my kids. Like this story:

There was an incident recently my daughter told us about a boy who was brutally beat up by two other, bigger boys. One of the offenders is already back in school. This is a clear violation of district policy. The boy who was attacked was sent back to class by the nurse. He ended up in the emergency room later that night after his mother took him to get checked out. Turns out he had a concussion. According to my daughter, he was sitting in class after the attack trembling. I figure he was traumatized; understandably so.

Here’s the kicker: if someone had called 9-11, that boy would have been boarded, collared and IMMEDIATELY transported to the hospital by ambulance – end of story. This is basic protocol we would extend to ANYONE, let alone a kid who was beaten. What are the school administrators thinking? This is an assault! The school declined or REFUSED? to call the police after the commission of a CRIME. They said the parents of the victim needed to come to school the NEXT DAY and call police then if they wanted to pursue it. IF THEY WANTED TO PURSUE IT? Luckily they did, but now the victim is still going to class with one of his attackers roaming the halls free. Irresponsible doesn’t even begin to cover this.

I have to admit one thing up front – I have a love/hate, no a tolerate/hate relationship with Philadelphia public schools, and public schools in general. As a student I spent many years in Catholic school. I hated it and didn’t do well. In fact I was so turned off by school as a young adult that I let that view influence many decisions I made in my life. Fortunately for me most worked out and I am a stronger person today as a result. Today my view on learning is expansive: I believe you never stop learning and can learn immensely through many different avenues. Some of the smartest people I have ever met are mostly self-taught.

SO I want my kids to be challenged in many ways I was not and to have many more life-long, positive learning experiences than I had. Lucky for us both our kids are thriving in their local schools. But in Philly many kids are not. High School, for example, is still an open question for us. Don’t get me wrong… some of the best fights I ever saw were in Catholic high school – and that’s a fact. And there were just as many pot-heads and keg parties and hook-ups as anywhere else. But in some public schools there is just an out of control atmosphere. We see it when we go to do fire drills. Some drills are well-disciplined events and some are clusters… It varies.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, a paper I usually keep for starting the fireplace up or wrapping fish has an in-depth series this week about the ongoing and out of control violence in the city’s schools. It isn’t pretty. The Inquirer, in the off times when it actually concentrates on journalism and not being the local voice of the left, actually manages to produce some excellent reporting and specials. It’s a shame it doesn’t do what it does best more often. Here is an exerpt from the seven part series and it goes right to the heart of the issue:

Since Arlene C. Ackerman took over as Philadelphia school superintendent in 2008, she has made a program called CSAP – Comprehensive Student Assistance Process – the centerpiece of her effort to stave off students’ deteriorating grades and behavior. The program is designed to apply a host of resources such as intensive tutoring and counseling, as well as identifying learning disabilities or behavioral disorders.

Use of the program skyrocketed from 16,534 referrals in 2008 to 51,166, including Carr, by the end of the 2009-10 school year. That means that nearly a third of the School District’s 155,000 students are enrolled – and the district plans to expand the program even more.

“If used correctly, it’s a major intervention that can work,” Ackerman said. “I know that because I’ve seen it work in my own experiences.”

But many teachers and administrators say the program is a bust – an exercise in paper-shuffling that is more about documenting students’ failures. Judge Kevin Dougherty, the administrative judge of Family Court, said that from what he’s seen, CSAP is a “fiction.”

On Monday, Dougherty found Carr and two King classmates charged in the attack, Ralph Moore and Diquan Allen, delinquent in a juvenile hearing. He will sentence them next week.

They told Dougherty they were breaking up a fight on the playground, not starting one. As for the bat, they say they had cut school and armed themselves after tussling with a gang at King earlier in the day. Police said the real story was that they were settling scores as part of an obscure neighborhood feud. The judge rejected the boys’ story.

The playground assault on April 30, 2010, marked the first time they’d ever been arrested.

But all three had long been in trouble in school. Carr had been suspended 17 times, starting when he was 7, for offenses ranging from fighting to indecent exposure.

All three were enrolled in CSAP at King. The School District declined to discuss their cases, citing privacy concerns, but their court files are open because they were originally charged as adults.

At a hearing this month, Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner pointed out that until the boys landed in court, only teachers and administrators were privy to their misbehavior. He wondered aloud, as he reviewed Carr’s “stunningly bad” school record, how the district had let Carr’s misconduct escalate from the time he was a young elementary school student.

“It’s difficult for me to understand,” he said, why Carr’s violent misbehavior was “not addressed earlier with something other than just multiple, repeated suspensions.”

Later, Lerner said, “It’s clear to me that these kids and the community would benefit if the schools took a more proactive role in addressing these kids’ needs before they become defendants in serious criminal cases.” LINK

The story points out how teachers and administrators constantly disregard district policy on violent kids so as to make the schools seem safer than they are. Violent kids who, according to written policy, should be removed are sent back to class, often in close proximity to their victims. This is inexcusable. Arlene Ackerman is complicit in this ongoing problem and she is not being held accountable – yet she earns more than the PRESIDENT.

The Philadelphia School District under Arlene Ackerman is in disarray. She needs to go.



  1. Old NFO says:

    With the new PCism and a lack of credible actions, I’m amazed there have not been more shootings/stabbings in HS today. Ackerman is just one of a plethora of bad administrators who would rather cover up these behaviors than actually protect the students (and yet students get suspended for a butter knife)…

  2. Bob G. says:

    It’s surely NOT the school system I graduated from back in the halcyon days in 1970.
    (A. Lincoln – the ORIGINAL school building that was torn down)

    Come to think of it, THAT is when all this BS started.
    The first thing the system changed in philly was the DRESS CODES…(in 1971)!

    That started a long, hard slide DOWNWARD (imho), and they never looked back (for the solution).

    I’m going to check out that SERIES you mentioned and pass it along to Wifey (she teaches H.S. in Indiana).

    Sounds like the differences in our 2 school systems aren’t THAT far off (sadly).

    Excellent post.

    Roll safe out there, Boss!

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