Philly principals march against racism, for diversity in district schools

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The union for Philadelphia school principals is leading a silent march Thursday afternoon to both honor George Floyd and call on the School District of Philadelphia to do more to combat racism. 

The group will march from union headquarters at Broad and Poplar streets about a half-mile south to the school administration building. 

Principals represented by Teamsters Local 502 — the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators — want the district to establish an office that would address racism and promote cultural differences in school programming. 

Union President Robin Cooper said doing that would be a great start toward healing.

“There has to be a diversity and equity office that really can recognize and denounce all acts of racism,” said Cooper.

On a Zoom call with reporters Thursday, Superintendent William Hite said he sees merit in the idea, but he doesn't believe a separate district department is appropriate.

“When you have offices that deal with those types of things, then it becomes the sole responsibility of that office to deal with these issues, when it has to become all of our responsibilities to deal with these issues,” he noted.

Hite favors a systemwide approach to talking about racism and discrimination. 

He acknowledges that those discussions won't be comfortable, but he said the focus should be on making sure those conversations take place.