Students: School Reform Commission Member Told Us ‘You Belong in Jail’
Philadelphia School Reform Commission member Sylvia Simms lashed out at student protesters at a movie screening last night. As seen in the above video posted to YouTube by Waleed Shahid, students clapped and interrupted the screening with chants of “Philly is a union town” and “The SRC has got to go.”
The students — part of Philly Students Union, a student-led group advocating for better school conditions — disrupted a film screening hosted by Simms. Those students say Simms told them “y’all probably go to failing schools.” Al Dia reports she also said, “You belong in jail.”
Some Parents from Women's Christian Alliance were chanting "Lock. Them. Up." #phled
— Philly Student Union (@215studentunion) October 15, 2014
The film being screened was Won’t Back Down, a drama about parents attempting to turn a public school into a charter starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis. It was produced by the same people who made Waiting for “Superman,” the controversial pro-charter film. Won’t Back Down was a critical and financial flop.
In a tweet posted to her account this morning, Simms said she wanted to listen to the students.
— Sylvia P. Simms (@Spsimms1) October 16, 2014
Simms was appointed to the School Reform Commission last year. She was a district bus attendant for 15 years and is the founder of the group Parent Power.