Town hall meeting tackles school violence, safety issues

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Youth United for Change, Philadelphia Student Union, and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus will sponsor the Education Over Incarceration town hall meeting tonight at West Philadelphia High School from 5 to 7 p.m.

The discussion will focus on such topics as zero tolerance, restorative justice, youth curfews, and the placement of police in District schools.

“We hope we have a great turnout to get our message across,” said Mastbaum student and YUC member Tone Elliott. “We’ve got an anti-youth government, and [we] need to get our voices heard.”

Earlier this year, YUC youth testified at a PALBC hearing, charging the caucus with being unresponsive to youth voices.

“Our testimony was basically around the curfew of Philadelphia [and] how it discriminates against young people,” said Elliott, who spoke to the caucus.

This town hall is happening as a result of youth advocating for an opportunity to speak with elected officials about disciplinary policies.

State Rep. Roland G. Waters, D-Phila./Delaware, who will attend the event, said "we hope this meeting will result in a dialogue where youth feel comfortable to share their fears, hopes, and dreams."