Nearly 100 Parents, Clergy, Students and Staff Resume Fast for Safe Schools as Funding Deadline Looms

fastWith the first day of school still uncertain, close to 100 fasting parents, students and clergy filled the steps in front of the School District of Philadelphia headquarters for a one-day resumption of the Fast for Safe Schools. The fasters are calling on City and State leaders to fund Philadelphia’s schools and for the District to prioritize safety by recalling all 1,202 laid-off student safety staff.

Juanita Jones, a lead food service worker at Olney Elementary, knows exactly how critical safety staff are to maintaining order in the lunchroom.

“It is time for City Council and the school district to step up and make sure student safety is a top priority,” Jones said. “I’m out here fasting again because the city needs to realize lunchrooms will be more chaotic and unsafe. The district knows children can’t learn in that environment. They need to bring back all the safety staff.” 

This June, Jones was a participant in the 15-day Fast for Safe Schools which encamped outside of Gov. Corbett’s Philadelphia office to draw attention to the critical role safety staff play  in preventing violence and defusing tensions in the lunchrooms, hallways and schoolyards of SDP schools. The group fasting alongside Jones constitutes the largest group of fasters ever assembled by the Fast for Safe Schools.

 On August 8th, SDP Superintendent William Hite announced that he will not authorize schools to open as scheduled on September 9 without an infusion of at least an additional $50 million in funding by August 16th. “Fifty million dollars allows us to tell parents that when their child is walking through the hallways, eating lunch or at recess, an adult will be supervising them,” Hite said.

With the deadline to fund basic staffing only two days away, faster Earlene Bly believes that her daughter and grandson will go back to schools that are less safe than they were last year unless the City and district act quickly to reinstate all safety staff. 

“The clock is ticking,” Bly said. “The City and the district have just two days left to show Philadelphia parents that they really do care about the safety our children.”

During the last school year, there were 2,672 violent incidents in the School District of Philadelphia, according to the SDP.

Join the fasters all day (8am-8pm) at the School District of Philadelphia
440 N. Broad St.
Rally at 5pm
Facebook Event

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