WHYY reviews efforts to combat violence in city schools

Posted by United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey on February 28, 2023

Synceir Thorton wears a red and black sweatshirt that’s too big for his small frame. The 16-year-old keeps the hood up, brown eyes peering out from underneath the fabric.

“I usually stay cautious nearly 24/7. I don’t really feel safe anywhere,” he said. “People come to school having a bad day and they want to hurt someone. I don’t want to be that someone.”

Like all students at Dobbins Technical High School in North Philadelphia, Thornton’s day starts with a walk through a metal detector. Fights are common outside of the school, so he stays inside for as long as he can.

Dozens of students walked out of Dobbins in December to protest what they describe as unsafe conditions: senseless acts of violence from students and a lack of teachers and security guards.

Thornton said he intentionally stays out of the loop on conflicts between students because they too often lead to gun violence outside school.

“It’s better if I don’t find out.”

More than 60% of young Philadelphians worry about their friends or family becoming victims of shootings, according to a survey conducted by local teens).

Educators say they have no choice but to respond to Philly’s ongoing gun violence crisis.

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