Is There One SRC Member Who Gets It?

A look at a scary walk by students

To explore worries on getting to a new school if Peirce is shut, Hite and others walked the route.

March 03, 2013|By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Write
  • Walking through the neighborhood to Rhodes Elementary are (from left) Superintendent William R. Hite Jr., SRC member Sylvia Simms, and Chief Inspector Cynthia Dorsey.
Walking through the neighborhood to Rhodes Elementary are (from left) Superintendent… (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )

Sylvia Simms pointed out the drug corners. She noted the halfway houses, boarded-up buildings, where the registered sex offenders live. She paused briefly near the schoolyard where, in 2004, a third grader caught in a shootout between rival gang members was killed.

At one point, a resident spotted a police car slowly cruising down Indiana Street and angrily shouted, “You’ve got to clean up the drugs up here!”

“This,” the newest School Reform Commission member said, “is my community.”

Walking beside Simms, School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. took it all in.

On Thursday, Simms and the four other members of the School Reform Commission must decide whether to close 29 public schools, including T.M. Peirce, the North Philadelphia elementary that Simms’ granddaughter attends. She and other community members have concerns about the walk Peirce students would have to take to their new schools, either Rhodes or Kenderton.

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