Assault on Learning: a sneak preview

So, the seven-part investigative series four colleagues and I have been working on for the past year runs beginning tomorrow.  Assault on Learning is a look at violence in the Philadelphia School District.

In addition to the story, photos and graphics, there are online exclusives available beginning tomorrow at  There, you'll be able to see videos and explore a database of school-by-school violence.

Here's the lineup of stories:

Sunday - In Philadelphia, schools are no sanctuary.  The specter of violence traumatizes students and stifles learning.  And assaults persist as a growing share of serious crime.

Monday - District records have gaps - the violent incidents that do not get reported to the district's central office and that never get reported to Philadelphia police.

Tuesday - Age poses no barrier to school violence.  Children younger than 10 assault and threaten classmates and teachers, and a number of these incidents have sexual overtones.

Wednesday - Many Philadelphia teachers face danger and frustration daily as they try to cope with violent students.  Teachers speak out.

Thursday - A district program aimed at helping violent students has become little more than a paper shuffle.  It enrolls a high percentage of the district's students, offering many of them scant help.

Friday - Programs do exist to reduce in-school violence, but the Philadelphia School District has failed to embrace them widely.  Some of the best examples are close to home.

Next Sunday - Healing a wounded South Philadelphia High School has fallen largely on the broad shoulders of principal Otis Hackney.

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