Stunned and upset by allegations that three Mastery Charter students attacked a man July 29th at 4th and Walnut, other Mastery students today took to the streets in a kind of institutional apology by handing out a flower and a note to commuters and neighbors.
"We're out here to show community we appreciate them, and we're saying thank you by handing out a little card and flower," said student Keenan Burton.
"I think flowers are a symbol of blossoming, a symbol of life," said neighbor Anita DeFrancesco.
One woman, who only gave her name as Barbara, said she appreciated the effort but says when large number of high school kids line up:
"I must say sometimes I feel threatened when everybody is lined up over there against that wall over there and I have to walk by. With everything going on today I am a little leery," she said.
Mastery, with multiple campuses and thousands of students, wants to try to change that. Its been recognized by a wide range of leaders for its tough standards and taking over and turning around failing schools.
Embarrassed by the arrest of three of its own, it says it intends to take steps beyond today's efforts.
"We're trying very hard to make sure Philadelphia knows were not going to stand for this, that we're going to have a campaign the rest of the year where we show the rest of Philadelphia that this kind of behavior is not tolerated," said Principal Matt Troha.
Mastery's motto is "Excellence. No Excuses." It says the students plan to work the the mayor's office in an effort to reach out to teens across the city to convince them violence is unacceptable.