SLA Responds to Community Concerns Surrounding Move

Sukainah Hasan

Staff Writer

Starting in September 2019, SLA Center City will be located in the Ben Franklin High School Building at Broad and Spring Garden.

With this move come many questions, about academics, facilities, and the adjustment to the new space. More specifically, many parents and students have concerns about the safety issues with the two schools combining. A commonly stated concern is the quesitons of how the students will interact with each other. Since this is the case, some parents have decided to transfer their child out of SLA, since they don’t know what to expect with this upcoming move.

Freshman Khaliq Wilks is one of the students who is considering a transfer.

“When I first came to SLA, I felt safe coming into the building knowing that only the students that actually goes to SLA are in the building,” he explained. “There might be drama between Ben Franklin and SLA because we don’t know them and they don’t know us.”

Freshman Imajay Harvey has no plans to transfer, but she does have safety concerns.

“One thing that I’m concerned about is the violence that can possibly occur between the students,” he stated. “You never know what’s going to happen between the two schools being together, which makes me a little worried.”

According to Dashboards, a website that the philadelphia school district has to get track of climate, it says that the number of serious incidents reported to district police the year of 2017-2018 106. In 2015-2016, it was 125, and in 2016-2017 there were 134 incidents reported. This shows that from the year of 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, the number of serious incidents reported to district police has decreased. By contrast, at SLA there were only 18 serious incidents reported to district police the year of 2017-2018.

SLA staff is aware of these concerns from students, and are there are a few plans in place to help students navigate the new environment.

“To resolve students from having conflict with each other, there should be communication and transparency,” SLA counselor Zoe Siswick explained.

Since there will be lot of physical crossovers between students, the two schools have to learn how to get along. However, there will be help with this process.

“Something that the School District has allowed us to do is hire a Climate Manager, which is basically someone as a disciplinarian,” Ms. Siswick stated. “We are going to use this person to work with Mr. Lehman and Ms. Leanness to avoid issues between SLA and Ben Franklin students.” The schools are also planning a series of Outward Bound trips for the underclassmen from each school to get to know each other in a neutral venue outside of the building.

SLA staff will continue to work to resolve any future problems that can possibly occur. with sharing both schools.

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