School safety hearings coming to Philadelphia City Council

Sparked by the kidnapping of a West Philadelphia kindergartner, City Council is panning to hold hearings on school safety.

Councilman Curtis Jones called for the hearings before a 19-year-old woman was arrested on charges of abducting the girl from Bryant Elementary School.

The 5-year-old was recovered safely, but police say she was assaulted during her ordeal. And  Jones says there needs to be a consistent dismissal policy for all students in Philadelphia schools, especially when someone comes to pick them up.

“What we want to look at is the uniform way the dismissal and custody of a child is done by the public school system. Is it done uniformly? Is it done consistently?” he said. “And should the criteria by which a person can remove a child from school, should the bar be raised?”

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Jones says schools need to keep track of who is permitted to pick up students and make sure clothing is not used to conceal an individual’s identity, even if it’s religious clothing.

“How do you verify who that individual is without impeding upon their religious right? So we have to negotiate those kinds of things,” Jones said. “But the most import is that it has to be equally applied citywide so everybody knows.”

A date for the hearings has not been set.

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