We Demand Safe Learning Conditions!

Philadelphia City Council and The School District of Philadelphia

Toxic school buildings are poisoning our children. This level of neglect and endangerment would never be tolerated in suburban or majority-white school districts. By taking action now, we can win the safe learning conditions that Philly students deserve.

Lead poisoning can cause permanent brain damage and behavioral problems. Even ingesting very small amounts of lead—in lead-tainted water, lead dust, or lead paint—can cause lead poisoning.

Asthma is the leading cause of absenteeism and emergency room visits for children in America. In Philly, asthma affects more than 25% of children—almost twice the national rate—and children are hospitalized for asthma at over four times the national rate. Extreme heat, mouse droppings, cockroaches, and mold are all asthma triggers.

In 2013, Cheltenham School District closed Cedarbrook Middle School because it was deemed unsafe due to mold. They relocated students to safe buildings and rebuilt the school at a cost of $55 million. Is the health of Cheltenham students more important than the health of Philly students?

How can we pay for it?
End the ten-year tax abatement. The ten-year tax abatement is a give-away to real estate developers and the wealthy. By ending the ten-year tax abatement, we could send over $300 million to schools over the next ten years.

Petition by
Mary Franz
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

To: Philadelphia City Council and The School District of Philadelphia
From: [Your Name]

As proud parents, family members, and community members of the School District of Philadelphia, we are outraged that city and district leaders continue to sit by while school buildings poison our children—with toxic lead that causes permanent cognitive damage as well as temperatures and pests that trigger asthma. As parents, family members and community members who care deeply for our students, we demand lead remediation in all schools that have toxic lead—not just the 40 schools the District has selected. In addition, we demand robust pest control and air conditioners in every learning space in order to alleviate asthma, which is a widespread cause of suffering and absenteeism among Philly children. Ending the ten-­year tax abatement for the wealthy and requiring big universities and mega non­profits to pay their fair share through PILOTS will fund the safe learning conditions that Philly students deserve.