The Declaration recently obtained the directives which govern school police in Philadelphia. These documents were linked on the School District’s website, but until our records request, had not been seen by members of the public, thanks to a password wall.
These directives will soon also be posted on the School District website, as a result of an agreement between the Philadelphia Student Union and Superintendent William Hite. You can read the Student Union’s statement here.
Their Student Union’s campaign has also resulted in a commitment by Superintendent Hite to condemn acts of violence by school police officers against police and reduce the number of uniformed officers and emphasize the use of “climate managers”.
The biggest victory of the Philadelphia Student Union’s activism is a new system for complaints by students and parents when infractions by school police occur. As these documents reveal, such a system already exists for school police officers themselves, in a peer to peer way, but this could be the potential expansion of such a policy.
Worrisome among these documents are a few redactions in sections about the use of batons and pepper spray in schools, as well as a policy allowing school police officers on truancy duty to drop truant students off at an “age appropriate” school close to where they are found during a school day, rather than the school where they actually belong.
More will be written, investigated, and explored, but now that we’ve been able to retrieve the last directive, on police officers’ code of conduct, we want these documents available for the public immediately.
If you enjoyed this story, please donate to the Declaration to support more investigative journalism like this.
If you cannot view our donate buttons because of your browser security settings, please donate here.