List of Philly's dangerous schools grows smaller

PHILADELPHIA - September 3, 2010

20 of the district's 265 schools qualified for the unsavory distinction in the 2009-2010 academic year.

The good news is that nine Philadelphia public schools have been removed from the state list of persistently dangerous schools.

The bad news is that four new schools have been added to the list.

Here are the nine schools that have been dropped from the list:

  • University City
  • Germantown
  • Northeast
  • West Philadelphia
  • Kensington Culinary
  • Kensington Business
  • William Penn
  • Roosevelt Middle
  • Harding Middle
Here are the four that have been added:
  • Roberto Clemente
  • Shaw
  • Gratz
  • Sayre
Strawberry Mansion high remains on the list. The district's new chief safety executive, Chief Inspector Myron Patterson of the Philadelphia Police, is a graduate of Strawberry Mansion.

He has met personally with the principal here and with the principals of the other schools on the list.

He says he wants to know what isn't working, and what the schools removed from the list are doing right.

"What have they done, what has worked for them is being looked at," Patterson said.

Overbrook High School has been on the list of dangerous schools every year since the list was first compiled eight years ago.

Students here say if you avoid trouble, it's a safe environment.

"It's not dangerous to me because I know everybody," said 10th grade student Tynia Bond.

Records of violent incidents are kept and reported by the school principals.

The head of the school police union says many principals fudge the numbers to stay off the list.

And people who live near the schools, like Germantown High which just came off the list, say much of the violence happens outside which is also not reported.

"Writing on walls, fighting amongst each other, other things," said Tamika Benjaman of Germantown.

Chief Patterson says one of his main goals will be to head off violence that happens in the streets before and after school.

And he'll be looking closely at the numbers to make sure all schools are reporting accurately.

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