Legislation would re-instate Philadelphia safe schools advocate

Philadelphia got rid of its “safe schools advocate” when state dollars designated for it dried up.  Two state lawmakers are moving legislation to restore the post.  

Representative John Taylor said he believes the million dollars that would be spent on a safe schools advocate in Philadelphia could save money in the long run.

“If an advocate can get the attention of the principal, the attention of the district, it will avoid costly litigation and try to nip a lot of these problems in the bud right away,” said Taylor.

The office was abolished about a year and a half ago due to budget problems.  Former advocate Harvey Rice said he received hundreds of complaints a year when he had the job.

“We were an advocate for those students and parents and teachers who were victims of violence and we were able to assist them in making sure their voice was heard in the school district as well as the court system,” said Rice.

The lawmakers acknowledge it’s an uphill fight to find additional dollars in the Pennsylvania budget that already makes big cuts to education.

The school district says it welcomes the possibility of bringing the post back.

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