Two views of public schools

Many parents are trying to remake their city schools, so much so that I'm starting to believe they are having real impact. The more I learn about local schools, the more I realize that many of them have a lot to offer, from violins to yoga.

But this morning, as we discussed school choices for our son, my husband asked if I had seen the "article in this morning's paper about that kid?" I had, and it caused me to ponder - for about the zillionth time - whether I'm crazy to consider sending my child to a Philadelphia school.

The story, by my Inquirer colleague Jeff Gammage, detailed one father's efforts to try to get Philadelphia School District officials to do something about bullies who were beating up his first-grade son.

It's disturbing. I know bullying can happen anywhere, but violence in city schools is well-documented, especially by the Inquirer.

I like to think that the school in this story isn't typical, and I'm still leaning strongly towards choosing a Philadelphia public school for our son. What do you think? How do you gauge whether a school is really safe?