District reacts to YouTube school fight video

January 6, 2011 3:35:10 PM PST
Now that hundreds of thousands of Action News viewers have seen the YouTube video of the female violence in the corridors of Edison High School, the question is what effect will it have, and how are school officials reacting to it?

The YouTube video of Tuesday's attack on a fellow student by three girls at Edison triggered the standard response from the Philadelphia School District brass: suspension, arrest, and an upcoming hearing to decide on expulsion or an alternative school for troublemakers.

Still, school district officials claim the rate of violence is down 10% this year at the high school.

"If they are conducting a criminal act, they will not be in our schools." Philadelphia Associate Superintendent Thomas Hanna said.

The teacher's union says those responsible are all too frequently sent right back to the classrooms and hallways they terrorized and the tradition of under reporting the number violent incidents is still alive and well.

"Administrators are getting a lot of pressure to make sure that their schools are not reported as being persistently dangerous," Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan said.

Top school district officials categorically deny there is any pressure to cook the books and under report school violence for the sake of public image.

"There is no directive from this administration, from this district, to say do not report what you're not seeing; we are very clear, if a crime is committed, if an incident takes place in a building, it is to be reported," Hanna said.

The school district says it is focused daily on the hot spots among the 267 city schools, 46 of them, where 50% of the district's student suspensions and expulsions are generated.