'WalkSafePHL' Aims to Keep Students Safe on Way to School

By Lauren DiSanto
|  Friday, Aug 16, 2013  |  Updated 12:12 PM EDT
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'WalkSafePHL' Aims to Keep Students Safe on Way to School

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It's called "WalkSafePHL" and the plan aims to keep Philadelphia students safe as they head to school this coming Fall.

“Safety is our foremost concern, both inside and outside of schools,” said School District Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Dr. Hite announced the safety plan Thursday, the same day the district said that schools may not be opening on time without at least $50 million in additional funding by next Friday, August 16.

With the closure of 24 schools at the end of last school year, more than 10,000 students are heading to a new school this year that maybe a longer walk outside their neighborhood.

Dr. Hite says in community meetings, the number one concern of parents and students was safety. The superintendent says the district has evaluated and reorganized its security systems and cameras. Teachers and staff have also undergone crisis intervention training, he said.

The WalkSafePHL plan is led by Town Watch Integrated Services, which helps coordinate a Safe Corridors program in Philadelphia by training volunteers to monitor neighborhoods as students travel to and from school.

On its website, the Philadelphia School District says it has Safe Corridors for every one of its schools, but the next step is to increase the number of volunteers.

Volunteers are asked to monitor 30 assigned routes during the school day, observing and documenting any suspicious or concerning activity. Safe Corridors volunteers wear brightly-colored vests and identification so they are easily spotted by students.

“Students cannot effectively learn if they do not feel safe during the school day, which includes their commute.  The WalkSafePHL initiative combines the efforts of many different organizations working toward the same goal: safety for students as they walk, bike, or ride public transportation," said Mayor Nutter in a news release issued Thursday.

 


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