A Hoodie, a punch & a second chance

Remember the season of fires and fist-fights at West Philly High? It was the winter of 2006-7, and Danielle Harris remembers it as being brutally cold. Her principal ordered a 'No Hoodie' rule. She was freezing,. She walked to the girls bathroom, deep in her hood, and felt a tap.

It was the principal.

She swung.

Two and half long lonely years later, she has been working her way back to school. I found her last week at YES's GED program where students work to express themselves in the media arts and find themselves actually loving their studies. She's finishing her video on Philly's skateboard culture. Spent all summer on it. She's 19, no longer that angry girl.

Her dream: to get her diploma in a new high school for media arts.

Until the state budget impasse messed up everything. Today's metro column.