Fallout from fight at Masterman continues

February 26, 2008 10:40:18 AM PST
Masterman High School is known as one of Philadelphia's best performing academic schools, but it was the scene of a fight and the focus of a lot of attention from police on Monday.

Parents and teachers say there have been attacks on the subway, attacks on students going to and from school, and now an altercation outside Masterman that sent yet another student to the hospital.

Paramedics wheeled away a 17-year-old student who fell victim to a vicious attack at the corner of 17th and Spring Garden Streets, sparking a chaotic scene.

"They jumped him. They were wrestling down with the other students. They ran across the street. They were dodging traffic," said student Johari Sankofa.

Another witness who did not want to be identified said it was a case of mistaken identity over some trivial slight.

"He went like, 'Is that the boy?' and he said 'no.' A boy just walks up and says, 'Hit him anyway.' So he punches my friend in the face," he said.

Ed Green says his daughter, who was filming a project for a school play, got caught right in the middle of the melee.

"And then all of a sudden they start pushing and shoving, and then they start punching," said Green.

Police arrived on the scene and arrested three teenagers. One is an 18-year-old student at nearby Ben Franklin High. Two others are from Waring Public School.

Parents and school officials say this altercation is just the latest at the hands of students from Franklin.

Veronica Joyner is the founder and Chief Administrative Officer of the Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School, which is nearby on Broad Street.

"One of our students was attacked by students from Franklin High School and he received three stitches under his eye because the boys jumped him," said Joyner.

Joyner says she reported the incident to the principal at Franklin, but nothing was done.

"And I am so afraid that a child is going to get killed because nothing is done," she said.

Parents also point to a rash of attacks on the Broad Street Subway, which also has them concerned. Some parents and teachers escorted some Masterman students to the subway because they feared for their safety.

"There's an officer down there. We told him to look out for you guys. I didn't want him to think you all are gone," said one parent.

Both parents and teachers say the city needs to do something to address the increasing violence here along the Spring Garden and Broad Street areas.

"What I want the city to do is to protect these kids coming and going to and from school. That's what I want. That's what I want the city to do," said Green.

Mayor Michael Nutter's daughter attends Masterman, but he was not among those caught in the melee.

A call to the mayor's press office wanting to know why parents amd teachers are having to escort students to the subway got us this reaction from Doug Oliver: "This is all going to be addressed under the city's new crime initiative, which seeks to put 200 more officers on the streets by May."