Jerry Jordan on District’s Handling of BFHS & SLA Building

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October 8, 2019

Asbestos in BFHS and SLA building

PHILADELPHIA—”At today’s town halls at 440, the students, parents and school staff from Ben Franklin and SLA let the District know–loudly and clearly–that they feel disrespected and neglected. And they are absolutely right. From the management of the construction, to their handling of asbestos hazards, to their communication with school communities, the District has failed to properly address the myriad concerns raised by this utterly shambolic renovation project.

“The PFT has been at the forefront of calling out and offering solutions for the unacceptable conditions in our school buildings. So much of the righteous anger and frustration on display at this morning’s town hall could have been avoided if the District had worked more closely with the PFT on potential solutions. It is also not unreasonable to expect the District to have had an emergency relocation plan in place prior to this school year; or, at the very least, to have engaged in proactive communications with school communities the moment they realized construction wouldn’t be nearly finished by September 1.

“I sincerely hope these town halls serve as a wake-up call for the District. We work for the parents and schoolchildren of Philadelphia–it is wrong to obfuscate or hide information from them.

“More importantly, our children are not just ‘units’ that can be shuffled from building to building–they are real people with needs, and a right to trust that their taxpayer-funded school district will help meet those needs. The District has violated that trust.”

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