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Number of 'persistently dangerous' District schools drops

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The number of Philadelphia public schools now on the state's list of "persistently dangerous" schools has dropped for a fourth year in a row.

There are now only two District schools on the list: Lincoln High School in Mayfair and West Philadelphia's Sayre High School, which was added this year.

Overall, the number of reported violent incidents in schools fell by 32 percent last school year, from 4,000 to about 2,800, according to the District. Violent incidents, as defined here, include assaults, abductions and attempts, and offenses involving drugs and alcohol fires, morals offenses, robberies, and weapons.​

Schools designated as persistently dangerous last year but removed from the list this year include: Beeber Middle School, Douglas High School, Frankford High School, Kensington Business High School, and Strawberry Mansion High School, which is now a Promise Academy. 

Anna Shaw Middle School, which closed this year, also qualified for the list.

Superintendent William Hite, in a statement, commended the effort of school staff in producing the decline. 

“Our principals and school-based staff have worked extremely hard to improve school culture, safety and climate,” said Hite. “We know that much work remains, which is why we are increasing the use of restorative practices and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS). Safety remains a high priority and we will continue working to ensure positive and safe environments for learning.” 

After drastic budget cuts, the District laid off all 1,200 school safety staff earlier this year. With the promise of additional funding from the city, most of the noontime aides have since been rehired. 

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David Limm

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David is a former online editor of the Notebook.