Reported violence down in city schools

Philadelphia School District. (Bob Laramie / Staff Photographer)

Number of "Persistently Dangerous" schools in Philadelphia in 2008-09: 25

Number of "Persistently Dangerous" schools in Philadelphia this year: zero.

Reported incidents of violence were down in the Philadelphia School District last year, officials announced Wednesday. They also said that for the first time since such records have been kept, no city schools made the state's list of dangerous schools, a designation under the No Child Left Behind law.

Schools superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said the news was excellent.

"More students are making the right choices and our principals, teachers, and school staff members are providing the right supports and guidance.  We are very proud of what our school communities continue to accomplish even with the limited resources they have.  We know that our work is not done on this front but, we are delighted to reach this very significant accomplishment," Hite said in a news release.

Violence declined 10 percent, with 2,485 violent incidents in the 2013-14 school year, down from 2,758 the prior school year. The rate of violent incidents remained the same, though - 1.83 per 100 students. (The district's enrollment dropped in 2013, and is expected to drop again this year.)

The drop in reported violence comes despite deep budget cuts in the district. Many schools lost support staff key to keeping order in hallways, cafeterias, and classrooms. Others lack a full-time guidance counselor and school police officer.