Friday, October 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

District to probe school police officer out on disability, but 'up and about'

School district police officer under the spotlight

District to probe school police officer out on disability, but 'up and about'

School district officials are launching an investigation into a school police officer out on disability who staged two rallies in support of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, said an anonymous district source.

Pamela Williams, an officer in the district for 5 years, held a rally inside district headquarters last week to protest rumors that there’s a plan afoot by Mayor Nutter, School Reform Commission Chairman Robert Archie and other bigwigs to have Ackerman removed.

Williams took her fight up Broad Street yesterday, when she, along with nearly 40 people, chanted and protested outside of City Hall.

A district official with knowledge of the probe said officials plan to pull internal tapes that show Williams at the rally inside district headquarters on Friday.

They will also print out news reports of both rallies.

“They have to prove that she was up and about,” said the official.

When reached today, Williams, the daughter of longtime activist Novella Williams, dismissed their efforts as a distraction and political ploy.

“Don’t deflect from the real issue,” she said. “My activism has nothing to do with the district.

“If you want to make me an issue, if they want to make me an issue, that’s sad.

“All I’m doing is using my mouth. That’s all I’m doing. I went out there because that’s what I wanted to do. I’m not going to be sitting around, saying ‘I’m hurt, I’m hurt.’ ”

She added that her commitment to the job and her attendance record speak for themselves.

She’d policed West Philadelphia High and Locke Elementary, before going on workman’s comp in January, after an assault by a Daroff Elementary School student left her injured, she said.

Records from this year show that she began receiving compensation on Jan. 14. 

A district spokeswoman declined to discuss personnel matters.

“I want to be in school,” she said. “I give this school district 100, 200, 300 percent. They can come on with it. The doctor said I can’t work the same way until my shoulder heals.”

She said the real issue isn't the fact that she's injured, but that a disproportionate number of students in the city can’t read or write.

“They don’t live in my neighborhood,” she said referring to district officials and politicians. “They don’t see the kids walking down the street high. These kids are suffering.”

That’s why she said she supports Ackerman and her efforts to help parents and students who struggle.

“Just look for yourself at the statistics of what she’s done,” Williams said before listing several of Ackerman’s intiatives she said have been successful, including Parent University and Promise Academies.

She added: “I hate that they would go that way,” she said of district officials.

“If it costs me my job, then it’ll cost me my job. I’ll go get another one. But I’m not going to stop.”

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