Discipline problems and violence in Philadelphia schools are not new. In a report by Judge Ellen Green-Ceisler on school discipline she states,
I observed a prevalence of Level I offenses including violations of theschool uniform code, wandering in the hallways and students who were tardy for class, disruptive, aggressive, and disrespectful to the teachers. The teachers with whom I spoke said that reporting these violations was useless since nothing would be done
In March 2011 the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission issued a report concluding their investigation into violence within Philadelphia schools. The investigation was prompted by a violent incident which occurred at a local school in December 2009, resulting in multiple victims requiring hospital treatment. The conclusion of the report was: “racial violence and conflicts routinely interferes with student learning in district schools” (Graham, 2011, para. 3). In language reinforcing the findings of Judge Green the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations wrote:
District policies fail to provide a clear consistent framework for preventing and resolving intergroup conflicts, and these policies are neither uniformly implemented, nor clearly communicated.
(Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, 2011, p. 9)
A principal was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer stating, “school principals are between a rock and a hard place, getting penalized if they report violence accurately and doing students a disservice if they don’t (Graham, 2010, para. 1).” According to Jack Stollsteimer (2010) former school safety advocate, not much has changed within the school district itself since 2005 when Judge Green-Ceisler was hired to perform a study on discipline within schools. “In 2008-09, the most recent year for which data are available, there were 12,486 reported incidents of misconduct, including 1,318 assaults on a staff member, 616 instances of students bringing a weapon to school, and 907 acts of vandalism (Snyder & Graham, 2010, para. 16).”
5 years of the same problem with no new solutions, only larger manifestations of the problem as what has happened at our high schools with gang violence and multiple victims who required hospitalization. And for these we reward administrators with hefty contracts and bonuses. Imagine what would happen if they created an environment teachers could teach in and students could learn in?