south philadelphia high school principal resigns

Oh, wait a minute now. Just the other day, I posted that the news that South Philadelphia High principal LaGreta Brown had received a community award for her work at the school. But today, news broke that Brown has resigned from the job, effective immediately: South Phila. High principal resigns.

It seems that Brown's state principal certification is currently inactive. According to a district official, Brown had agreed to resign after the end of this school year, but after the Philadelphia Inquirer raised questions about her certification, she decided to leave the school today. Here's the news release from the school district:
South Philadelphia High School will have a fresh start. Superintendent Arlene Ackerman announced today that South Philadelphia Principal, LaGreta Brown will be stepping down effective immediately. In her letter to the superintendant, Ms. Brown stated, "It has become apparent that I have been made the focus of a controversy that continues to impede the education process to the detriment of the students." Dr. Ackerman identified in April incoming leader, Otis D. Hackney, III, who currently serves as principal at Springfield Township High School.

"We have spent the past several months making positive changes at South Philly High. These changes have brought about an improved climate for all students at the school. Violent incidents have decreased and more students are involved in after school activities," said Ackerman. "I initially interviewed Mr. Hackney as a andidate for one of the Promise Academies. The interviewing committee and I were so impressed by him that it determined he was the right person to manage and lead South Philadelphia High next school year."
Okay, that's great. Though Brown's resignation actually has nothing to do with her astounding incompetence and neglect regarding the ongoing problem with violence at South Philadelphia High. She apparently just didn't have her certification in order. Still, administrative change is a good... right? Here's a statement from South Philadelphia High School Asian Student Advocates:
Statement on the resignation of S. Phila. High School Principal LaGreta Brown

As a coalition of adult advocates and youth organizers, we have felt strongly that administrative change was a necessary first step to begin the process of healing and the work of positive change towards racial and cultural learning, respect, and community building within the school. Under Ms. Brown's leadership, language access policies have been deliberately violated. Even post-Dec. 3rd, there is on-going harassment and violence and a hostile environment that has exacerbated existing racial tensions in the school.

While we are hopeful about Mr. Hackney's appointment, we believe the District has missed an important opportunity to engage the broader community in an important dialogue on finding the best leader for South Philadelphia High School at this time. We have been in this position before. The problems at the school are serious, there is on-going violence and harassment of students, there is a basic lack of policy and procedure, and what is needed is a real change in the way that the District has been approaching the problems at S. Philly High.

In spite of this missed opportunity, we intend to continue our work with the District on finding real and lasting solutions. We hope for the sake of students, staff and community of South Philadelphia that this change in the administration will signal a renewed effort to address the real and deeply rooted problems which plague this learning community
Things just don't end with a problem principal stepping down. AALDEF's civil rights complaint with the Department of Justice is still relevant. There were apparently more than two dozen incidents last year before Brown becamse principal. This is a problem that stretches far beyond one principal, or even just South Philadelphia High. The District has a problem, and this is just one small step in the right direction.

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