Philly Schools Decriminalizing Classroom Antics

“Verbal altercations” will no longer bring a police response.

Newsworks reports that the Philly school district will stop asking district police officers to intervene in minor “level one” classroom incidents.

Philadelphia School District has directed school police officers to stop responding to calls related to Level 1 student conduct offenses. The proscribed violations range from “failure to follow classroom rules” to “truancy” to “verbal altercations” to “inappropriate touching/public displays of affection.”

“These infractions are not criminal offenses; they are classroom/student management issues,” wrote District Chief Inspector Carl W. Holmes to school administrators and school police in a memo dated March 10, 2014.


The memo states that school police should "respond to all calls that are criminal in nature, or where persons involved are violent or threatening."

In those minor incidents, the memo says, officers should request an administrator, counselor, or "administrative designee" to help out. Bottom line: This should result in fewer students being dragged out of school in handcuffs.

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  • Northeaster

    Did they need to formally do this?

  • PHLTeacher

    Level 1 infractions can escalate very quickly to a Level 2 offense. Many times the presence of a school police officer can help deescalate a situation. The officer can remove the student from the classroom, talk to them, and help calm them down. Schools don’t have the support staff anymore to help with disciplinary incidents.