After Hadiya: A Plan for School Safety
Last December, hundreds of King College Prep students staged a 4-hour sit-in, demanding the resignation of principal Shontae Higginbottom.
The students were upset with Higginbottom’s firing of the school basketball coach and, most seriously, the change in after-school policies:
A good number of the school’s 900 students refused to go to class and promised to occupy the building’s foyer and gym until their demands were met.
‘We are really good students, and for her to come here and enforce all these rules on us, and treat us like we’re stupid, is an insult to us,” said King College Prep junior Ayshia Stanley.
The seniors who organized the sit-in say students are angry about the recent firing of a well-liked basketball coach and policy changes by the new principal, Shontae Higginbottom, not allowing students to wait for rides inside the building or re-enter after school is over.
Hadiya Pendleton was shot in Harsh Park where she and other students had taken refuge during a storm. We are compelled to wonder, then, if Hadiya’s death might have been prevented if she and her fellow classmates had been allowed to stay inside the school after the final bell.
Several weeks ago, we happily reported that a Philadelphia girl, had been found after being kidnapped. The girl’s kidnapper was able to check her out of school without providing any official identification.
Along with requiring adults to provide proper identification when picking up students
and allowing students attending school in high crime areas especially to remain in designated areas while waiting for rides,
how else can we help schools protect students?
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