Parents at the former Wilson Elementary School in West Philadelphia have been protesting the un-monitored dangerous 1.2 mile walk to their new school, Lea Elementary. Despite bizarrely bloviated promises from the city’s Walk Safe Program – the directors said they would have 260 volunteers present daily for the 24 schools which closed last spring – hardly any volunteers have ever shown up for the West Philadelphia route or for other routes across the city. On the first day of school, one lone volunteer, an 80-year old concerned committee woman from a nearby neighborhood, was the only one to show up – and that was for the afternoon watch only.
Parent Sonja Fletcher featured in the video said the safety of her children is her number one concern:
“We’re walking from Gray’s Ferry Avenue all the way to 47th and Locust. It’s tiring. It’s scary for a child. Soon it’s going to be getting dark. I’ve seen little children younger than my daughter walking by themselves so not seeing enough staff outside is very alarming as a parent. “
As one student said:
“They’re not just hurting the people who lost their jobs. They’re hurting the kids.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten and Parents United for Public Education joined Wilson parents earlier this month on a walk home to highlight the issue of school safety, the problems of school closings, and the lack of appropriate funding and priorities paid to this issue. Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and State Rep. James Roebuck also made an appearance. AFT made this great video on the event. Many thanks to AFT and to the vigilant parents, families, and staff of the Alexander Wilson/Lea community.