Edgar Matta-Galdames knows about the school-to-prison pipeline. Not that the student at the Workshop School in West Philadelphia is in it himself. But he was once suspended for wearing a hoodie to school in violation of the dress code.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams met Thursday with 60 Kensington High School seniors to talk about education and the law. The visit was organized by English teacher John Lavin, who works closely with the school’s social studies department to bridge the gap between social issues and literature.
One reason for the increase in graduation rates among students with juvenile justice involvement is the availability of more options to get these students back on a path to securing their diplomas. About 10 years ago, initiatives regarding re-engagement of at-risk youth became a top priority for Philadelphia – and for good reason.
To increase the chances of a smooth transition, the District ended the process of returning adjudicated youth to regular classrooms in mid-semester. Instead, they will remain in an extended RETI-WRAP program, with a chance to earn credits, until the start of the next semester.