Principal seeks to calm Bartram

Ozzie Wright, a retired Philadelphia principal and respected climate specialist, has been brought in to help calm the climate at Bartram High.

Ozzie Wright knows Bartram High. He was raised in the neighborhood, and when he returned to Philadelphia from military service, he lived in a house near the school on S. 67th Street.

And when the retired Philadelphia principal and Army captain heard about what was going on at Bartram this year - fights and open marijuana smoking and a "conflict resolution specialist" knocked unconscious by a student - his reaction was typical: shock, dismay.

"I hate to see these things happen in any school," said Wright.

Wednesday marks a week since Wright was brought in by the Philadelphia School District to be Bartram's co-principal, the troubleshooter dispatched to calm a wild school.

It's early, but in an interview Wednesday, Wright said he's seen some progress. There are fewer students in the hallways during class, and more interaction with administration, Wright said.

"We all need to be present in the hall, to engage students and actually talk to them," he said.

Wright, who said he will remain at Bartram through the end of the school year, said he knows his is a big job.

"We have to re-establish a sense of trust within the community," he said.

Read tomorrow's Inquirer for more from Wright.