News

Caitlin O'Brien | Friday, September 18, 2020 - 10:47am
When students came to class in person, the private St. Malachy School in North Philadelphia was equipped with a robust emotional support program to help kids deal with trauma. The 11th and Thompson building offered its 275 students access to a space called the Peace Room. It was stocked with bean bag chairs, books, music, snacks — even an elliptical, in case they needed to get some energy out. There were two full-time staffers working the room at all times, one of whom is a counselor. When...
Caitlin O'Brien | Friday, June 26, 2020 - 10:18am
School police will no longer patrol city public school halls come September. Instead, “school safety officers” in less severe uniforms and with different job descriptions will be stationed throughout the Philadelphia School District. The move comes amid local and national pushes to remove police from schools. A handful of big-city districts, including those in Minneapolis, Denver, Seattle, and Oakland, have severed or backed away from relationships with police departments in the wake of the...
Caitlin O'Brien | Monday, June 22, 2020 - 9:27am
Teachers, counselors, parents, and national activists added their voices to students’ call for “police-free schools” at a general public hearing held by Philadelphia’s Board of Education on Thursday. The board holds two of these hearings annually, as the City Charter mandates; the only agenda for the meetings is to hear speakers. At the hearing and at a virtual “rally” held during the hour before, members of the Philadelphia Student Union and their allies repeatedly said that reform of the...
Caitlin O'Brien | Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 1:48pm
The Philadelphia Board of Education is holding an open public hearing Thursday afternoon, one of two that it is required by the City Charter to conduct annually on general topics. The three-hour meeting, which starts at 4 p.m., has no agenda except hearing from speakers. Student activists plan to renew their calls for police-free schools. Many others have registered to air their concerns about the conditions under which schools will resume in the fall, said Board President Joyce Wilkerson.
Caitlin O'Brien | Thursday, June 11, 2020 - 10:32am
As the coronavirus pandemic forces so many to reckon with growing food insecurity and increased health challenges, the Building Wealth and Health Network program of Drexel University’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities is reducing food insecurity and improving mental health – without distributing any food or medicine. How? By focusing on group experiences that promote healing and help people save money and take control over their own finances. Parents of young children, who completed the...
Caitlin O'Brien | Monday, May 11, 2020 - 6:38pm
For Philadelphia students and families having trouble coping with the loss of months of in-person school amid the trauma of a pandemic and a changing world, help is on the way. On Monday, the Philadelphia School District and Uplift, the Center for Grieving Children, will launch the Philly HopeLine, a hotline that will connect district children and families to grief support services, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said at a news conference Thursday. The resource comes in response to a...
Caitlin O'Brien | Monday, April 6, 2020 - 9:20am
Need help? There is now a statewide hotline you can call. The toll-free, round-the-clock support line can be contacted at 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600. The hotline was launched in partnership with Pennsylvania's Department of Human Services along with the Center for Community Rescoures (CCR), an experienced regional crisis and call center. The hotline hopes to provide assistance to people struggling with emotions during the COVID-19 crisis. “Pennsylvanians will overcome this...
Caitlin O'Brien | Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 5:01pm
“The world of thinking about trauma, the importance of school climate and social-emotional learning is 20, 30, 40 years behind the world of instruction." Joanna Schwartz, a 2nd-grade teacher at Eliza B. Kirkbride Elementary School, was about to take a scheduled break and desperately needed a place to have peace and quiet. But the only place she could find was a broom closet. A few years earlier, in another school, Schwartz said teachers were baffled by a 3rd grader who continually fell...
Aviva Perlo, MSW | Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 9:44am
This is a good story about mental health. Let’s say a bunch of social workers, nurses, trauma specialists, philanthropists, non-profit professionals, writers, EMTs, and data crunchers walk into a bar. Knock knock, no joke, this actually happened in December 2019. Mental health professionals begin to schmooze over spinach mushroom rolls, cheese and hummus platters, and ginger brew. Sounds good right. There’s so many reasons to luv Philly. The event was sponsored by the Scattergood Foundation...
Aviva Perlo, MSW | Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 9:37am
An onslaught of violence begs the question: What makes us safe? Should we run and hide, should we become heavily armed, should we only speak with people who look like us? It would be easy to frame recent hate crimes in Monsey , Pittsburgh , and San Diego solely as anti-Semitic. It is that and more. Hateful attacks against Jews indicate a “rot in democracy” and call for systemic reform, according to History Professor Dr. Deborah Lipstadt. I began thinking about safety over 25 years ago when a...

Pages