January 20, 2020
Read the PFT’s legal complaint here.
PHILADELPHIA- On a day commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., PFT President Jerry Jordan joined parents and educators to announce legal proceedings against the School District to address the ongoing facilities crisis.
PFT President Jerry T. Jordan said, “Today’s press conference, as we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, is a profound reminder of the fact that our society has let far too much of Dr. King’s mission go unrealized. We have seen the injustice unfold time and again in our fight to not only fund our facilities but to address the catastrophic process deficiencies in the process. These are conditions that would never be tolerated in a wealthier, whiter school district.”
Jordan continued, “In a 1956 speech, Dr. King outlined a number of steps we must take ‘in order to make segregation a dead factor and integration a reality in our society. And that is, we must continue to struggle through the courts, through legislation or legalism.’ A lawsuit alone will not be enough. All levels of government must insist on substantial funding to overcome the facilities crisis. Our Fund Our Facilities Coalition has identified that an immediate influx of $170 Million is needed to address some of the most urgent issues.”
PFT Attorney Deborah Willig shared, “The School District of Philadelphia is breaking the law. Unionism is about standing up against injustice and using every tool possible to do so. Our filing will seek immediate relief from the unconscionable conduct that puts the health of our children and educators at risk every day.”
TM Peirce parent Antione Little said, “It is extremely frustrating that the District continues to fail our children. This lawsuit is about making sure that my children and their teachers– and every child and every teacher– have safe, healthy learning environments. Enough is enough.”
Richmond parent Stefanie Marrero added, “This is about my children and their future. My children’s education is critical. But their health comes first. How can they be expected to learn in toxic schools?”
TM Peirce educator and PFT building representative Jennifer Ballard said, “Speaking at today’s press conference was about service, and fighting alongside my union for what is right and what is just.”
Carnell educator Mark Paikoff said, “I want to thank the PFT for taking this step. It is a sad step, but an important one. My scholars and students across the city, as well as my colleagues, deserve so much better.”
Carnell educator Tina Asman concluded, noting, “My students should not have to be afraid of what they are breathing in their classroom. How can they learn when they are afraid? I can’t think of a more fitting way to honor the legacy of Dr. King than fighting for the students I serve every day.”
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