Secure our children Philadelphia School District! Give our children a SAFE PLACE!

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Our schools were once a safe place.   We had fire drills.  We now have lock-downs and shelter-in-place drills.  In many of our schools, The School District of Philadelphia requires for our very young children to remain outside, in a school yard, until 8:30 am when the school bell tolls (except during inclement weather).  There is no safe place when they are outside and they are, in today's very scary environment, sitting ducks.  Our children do not have a safe place to hide, a place to run to, to barricade, and the pandemonium that would ensue if they need to run anywhere would only cause more casualties and panic.  There are no teachers present.  Sometimes, the 'lunch ladies' are there. Even if the teachers were there, there still is no way to shield our children from harm as they stand in the school yard from the time their parents or transportation drops them off, sometimes for 30 minutes.  Predictable.  Unaccountable.  Targets. Hundreds of children 5 years and up.  They are exposed to any and all possible harm EVERY DAY OF THE SCHOOL YEAR.  In the 2016-2017 school year, there were attempted lurings.  When?  In the morning when supervision is low and there are too many children for everyone to account for.  No, the answer is not hiring more staff, arming them, or requiring added supervision.  One police officer to cover hundreds of children, a handful of parents, and a few lunch ladies is not a 'plan'. The answer is allowing our children INSIDE the school where it is safe and secure.  The children must be allowed to enter their safe place 15-20 minutes prior to school starting.  First, it allows them to be ready for class at the official start of 8:30 am, instead of walking in at 8:30 when the teachers come to get them AND it provides the safe place where the children are not exposed for up to 30 minutes of unsupervised exposure to potential harm.

These are our children.  This is our future.  We send our children to school to learn, to experience, to grow.  At the end of the day, we want our children safely and happily back where they belong... with their family.   We cannot take the chance of harm befalling upon any of them while we entrust them to our teachers and the school they attend.  The school yard is NOT their safe place and forcing them to stay in one, open, predictable, potentially targeted place, is not acceptable in the culture we live in today.  If school safety is a primary goal, that safety applies to every inch of the school property including the school yard and the school yard, is not a safe place anymore.

We must bring our voices together to bring this change to all our schools where our children are forced to stand in an open school yard instead of being allowed into the school buildings that are shelters-in-place.

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