PHILADELPHIA - On the heels of a deadly shooting near Roxborough High School and gunfire that injured four students, the School District of Philadelphia will promise over $1M in efforts to improve student safety.
Superintendent Tony Watlington, in an extended interview with FOX 29's Jeff Cole, said he would invest $1.3 million dollars to strengthen school safety. A large chunk of that money will be used to expand the Safe Path Program from 8 schools to 12 over the next two years, and more than half will go towards strengthening safety around city schools.
"School district that do not have to allocate addition resources to what happens outside school buildings have more resources to focus on core business of teaching," Watlington said.
He believes that one way to ensure student safety is to make sure children come to school in the first place. Truancy, paired with troubling dropout numbers, are two factors that Watlington says have lead to students becoming the victims or perpetrators of violence.
"We have a 70%, 4-year graduation rate, that means 30% of the kids don’t graduate in 4 years. We’ve got to dig into the data," Watlington said.
A father of three himself, Watlington called the violence against students "a crisis" that will require a partnership from agencies across the city.
"We have a crisis, it's critical we be successful and win this war," Watlington said.