Pennsylvania Official Blasts School District Over Safety

Published: September 22, 2009

In a letter addressed to Pennsylvania Department of Education Secretary Geral Zahorchak and Philadelphia schools chief Arlene Ackerman, Pennsylvania Auditor General, Jack Wagner, said the department is endangering the welfare of its students – in addition to breaking the law – by no longer having the office of an independent watchdog, who monitors violence in Philadelphia classrooms, open, according to

The office, which was operated by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, was closed down in August due to budget problems.

Wagner, however, said that despite a budget crisis, the department must reinstate the office. He also said that although funding for the office is the state’s responsibility, it is also up the school district to make sure the office is present.

Officials from the School District of Philadelphia said that because the office must be independent, there is very little they can do to keep the office up and running.

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As it stands, 25 schools on the state’s “persistently dangerous list” are all located in Philadelphia.

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