‘Works Bomb’ Detonated at Philadelphia School

A bomb went off in the yard outside a Feltonville school earlier this week, and a student has been charged. The City Paper‘s Dan Denvir reports the student, whose name has not been released, detonated what’s called a “works bomb” just outside the Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences on Wednesday.

What’s a works bomb? It’s a cheap homemade explosive made with toilet bowl cleaner The Works. This now-censored article with directions provides the info — chemicals in bathroom cleaners like The Works mix with the aluminum in tin foil and causes a pretty big explosion.

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Mother of 5-Year-Old Abducted from Philadelphia School Sues District, Teacher

kidnapping surveillance video 940

In January 2013, a woman wearing a burqa walked into a classroom in West Philadelphia’s Bryant Elementary School and walked out with a 5-year-old girl who wasn’t her child, as seen in this school surveillance image. Before the girl was found the next day, half-naked and shivering in the rain, she’d been sexually assaulted. And now, the mother of the young girl is suing the School District of Philadelphia, the School Reform Commission, and the teacher who released the girl to the abductor. Read more »

Can Lawyers Save Philly’s Schools? Bill Fedullo Thinks So.

william-fedulloBill Fedullo isn’t necessarily anybody’s idea to be the savior of Philly schools. He’s an attorney, one of the city’s best-known and most-powerful — and in January, he was inaugurated as chancellor of the 13,0000-member Philadelphia Bar Association. But it’s from that perch that he’s made saving city schools a priority.

He talked with Philly Mag recently about why he has undertaken the crusade and what lawyers can do to support public schools.

When you were inaugurated as the chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, you immediately announced that you want the perpetual funding crisis facing Philly schools to be a top priority. That’s not the usual purview of the bar association. Why do you think it should get involved?

Well, there were a couple reasons. This year was the 60th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education and I realized that I want to celebrate that case, to reflect on what it meant. As I was doing that, I realized that the promise of equal education was not being fulfilled. And in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia in particular, the finding was such that you saw ads in the paper that the schools needed things like paper, tissues, and No. 2 pencils, basic things. I felt if we as a bar association really need to do something about that. I was trying to think of ways in which we can do that. One was to advocate for full-funding of schools, through government. A dedicated source of funding.

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District: Seniority No Longer Decides Teacher Staffing

The Philadelphia School District said Monday it will minimize the use of seniority in making teacher assignments — a move that will likely trigger a legal showdown with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. 

“While the process will continue to include seniority as a factor for some staffing decisions, it will end the practice of using seniority as the only factor in any decisions,” the district said in a press release. That decision is “consistent” with a deal finalized last week with the district’s principals — negotiations with the PFT had been at a stalemate.

“The school district and the SRC have chosen to forsake negotiating in good faith in favor of a legal end-around to avoid meaningful contract talks with the PFT,” PFT President Jerry Jordan responded. “The members of the PFT are partners in public education, not indentured servants. Today’s action by the school district belittles every PFT member, and signals an unwillingness to reach a fair contract with the city’s educators.

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How to Thank Philadelphia Principals for Their Pay Cut? Let Them Do Their Jobs.

Philadelphia School District Building

This week, and by an overwhelming 83% margin, the union representing Philadelphia’s high school principals agreed to enormous pay cuts, a 10-month work year, and to contribute more toward their health insurance. We are grateful. We thank you.

“There’s not a cavalry coming,” union president Robert McGrogan said. “With a new fiscal year on our doorstep, we needed to do something to help right the district. We’ve ratified a contract, but we’re hardly celebrating.”

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