How The City Of Philadelphia Failed The Youth Pt. 2

In this post the terrible job the School District of Philadelphia is doing and how they are failing the youth (yet again) will be highlighted. If you haven’t read “How The City Of Philadelphia Failed The Youth Pt. 1” you should read it here before continuing.

The School District of Philadelphia own around 300 buildings and the most of these buildings are 70+ years old. The buildings have been poorly managed over the years which shows when examined. Problems include asbestos, mold, lead-contaminated water and more. If students & adults are exposed to or inhale asbestos it can increase their risk of many health issues in the future including cancer. Being exposed to the lowest amount of asbestos possible can lower your IQ. With the ample amount of time and money given to the school district the poor conditions should’ve been fixed. These problems have been known and publicly reported as far as almost 20yrs ago starting with a report released by the National Library Of Medicine in 2004. A lead report was released for water samples taken from drinking sources in 292 School District Of Philadelphia owned buildings between May 2000-January 2001. Reports of asbestos and mold followed.

The children of Philadelphia deserve a safe + clean learning environment providing spaces for them to eat, drink, learn and grow. By doing nothing or failing to even acknowledge the school conditions the city and School District of Philadelphia are failing the youth. Taxpayers desrve nothing but the best for their children but instead they are robbed blind and given the worst education + conditions from the city/school district. Comments from the city/school district regarding the 2004 lead report couldn’t be found but it wasn’t until 2017 a citywide law went into place requiring the School District of Philadelphia to test for lead contamination in all water outlets in every school building owned (every 5yrs). Outlets include all fountains, all faucets, all hydration stations, and all classroom + bathroom sinks. They would also be required to make the results public via website. That information can be found here & here. The first website show all asbestos related projects within the school district dating back to 2016 on a interactive map. The second website show the same information in PDF form. Projects include locations, start dates and completion dates along with other information that’s allegedly updated daily.

2018 picture of Asbestos in a Philadelphia Public School

In 2018 a $15.6M project for the removal of lead paint at 57 schools within the school district was announced by Gov. Tom Wolf.

In 2019 high lead levels was reported once again but this time on a larger scale with pictures showing the terrible water conditions in Philadelphia schools as seen in the picture below. Teachers complained to school officials about the water conditions but their complaints was never acknowledged and parents was never informed. When the news broke out parents were furious with the school district due to their attempt to keep the water conditions a secret. This would lead to school officials being charged for hiding asbestos problems within the school district. The failure to notify parents is a clear example of why the city and School District of Philadelphia can never be trusted.

Photos taken by two former teachers at Frederick Douglass Mastery Charter School show water drawn from drinking fountains at the school in June of 2016.

In 2020 the University of Penn donated $100M to the School District of Philadelphia for their ongoing battle with asbestos, mold and lead removal. As of February 1st 2022 less than 30% of public schools within the School District of Philadelphia have lead contamination testing data available online. Based on a study from Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group 98% of the schools tested have lead-contaminated water. The study was conducted with samples of water from 65 public schools within the school district which can be read here. The interactive map provide sample dates, number of water outlets tested, number of water outlets that tested positive for lead and more. Surprisingly the school district denied the Feb. 2022 reports and said they are inaccurate. With all the information provided in this post it there’s nothing but room to question whether or not the city or School District of Philadelphia care about the teachers and youth at the their schools.

The Philadelphia Inquirer released 15+ articles about the terrible school conditions which can be read here.

Lastly…. one thing the School District of Philadelphia know how to do is waste money. Just two days after the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group released their lead study the school district announced their new eco friendly plan to have an all electric school bus fleet. This all electric bus fleet would allegedly save the district $1M-$1.5M in annual fuel costs. But what doesn’t make sense is how much the district is willing to pay for this fleet. They are expected to pay $365K per vehicle which is MORE than half the price of a diesel fueled school bus at $150K. Since the district would be starting off in the red with this bold move I have a hard time making this make sense and would like for a breakdown of every reason why switching to an all electric fleet is the right thing to do.

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