Philadelphia city officials discuss urgency of school and student safety

As violence continues to ravage Philadelphia, city officials have plans to meet Monday to discuss student and school safety. 

There have so far been 180 shooting victims under the age of 18 this year. 

Mayor Jim Kenney, Superintendent Dr. William Hite, District Attorney Larry Krasner, and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw will be a part of the press conference Monday afternoon. 

They will join with students and educators to discuss the urgency of safety in and around city schools. 

Kevin Bethel, Chief of School Safety of the School District of Philadelphia, joined Good Day Philadelphia to talk about new initiatives. 

"The fear of crime is often worse than the crime itself," Kevin Bethel explained as he spoke of the fear many parents feel as the city works to make changes. 


School safety officers are often in the inside of the school or on the school's campus but Bethel says that increased police presence in the vicinity of the school is helpful.

There will be twenty-five school safety zones were created to help enhance police presence. There are 38 schools that will benefit from an increased police presence as a part of the twenty-five safety zones. 

Students and parents will now note an increased presence of police in more challenged communities. 

The violence that has been seen is often happening outside of the schools, according to Bethel which is why a call for increased police presence is so important.

"We've worked collaboratively with the Philadelphia Police Department for a long period of time now," Bethel said explaining that there are many protocols in place to address threats coming in through social media. 

"Violence, unfortunately, isn't a new phenomenon, but what we're now seeing more brazen behavior around schools," Dr. William Hite said during the press conference. 

Dr. Hite said the result of the brazen violence is trauma and fear in students who are concerned about not only commuting to schools, but also being at school. 

According to Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, the Philadelphia Police Department has been working with the school district, local businesses, and community volunteers to ensure that students have safe passage to and from school. The Safe Corridors program is a volunteer program spearheaded by the School District of Philadelphia. It is similar to a neighborhood watch program. 

"Today marks the start of the Philadelphia School Safe Zones program between the PPD and the School District of Philadelphia," said Commissioner Outlaw. 

The School District of Philadelphia says one of the strategies it will employ will be hiring community leaders and groups to help curb the violence since they will be able to make the space safe through engaging with the kids. 



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