By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Blue Ribbon Commission says Philadelphia public schools are under-reporting violent incidents, and should offer more counseling to victims.
The report finds inconsistencies in how serious incidents are tracked, and says schools don’t provide adequate counseling for students who are victimized. The report was presented to the School Reform Commission’s safety committee Tuesday night.
Mayor Michal Nutter says it’s a step toward changing the culture, “that anyone would feel the need to bring a weapon, a knife, a cutting instrument, drugs, or to have a fight with a fellow student, with a teacher, with an administrator or a police officer is unacceptable behavior.”
The report makes one recommendation the district is already doing: having school police, and not principals, reporting crimes to the central office and Philadelphia Police Department.
School Reform Commission Safety Committee chair Lorene Cary says administrators can’t let arguments over resources get in the way.
“Often what we say is, ‘Oh well. The SRC has cut everything there is. So, what can we do?’ Well in fact, we have to do it anyway. The children are in school every day and we’ve got to figure out what else we can do.”
The city Human Relations Commission is planning to help train all school staff on anti-harassment and bullying policies.