City to install security cameras around 19 Philly schools where gun violence affected students

One school also moved their graduation ceremony inside
Bartram High School in Southwest Philadelphia. A 17-year-old was shot and killed outside the school earlier in 2022, and the city has announced increased camera surveillance outside the school and 18 others to help increase safety around schools.
Bartram High School in Southwest Philadelphia. A 17-year-old was shot and killed outside the school earlier in 2022, and the city has announced increased camera surveillance outside the school and 18 others to help increase safety around schools. Photo credit Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

UPDATE: June 14, 3:11 p.m.

Concerns over community violence have altered the graduation ceremonies at least one Philadelphia school.

Speaking Monday at the city’s news conference announcing school security cameras, Bartram High School Principal Brian Johnson said the school’s graduation last Friday was moved indoors.

“Because of Uvalde and some of the other instances, we moved our graduation from outside of our brand new field at Bartram, down the road here, to inside of our auditorium,” Johnson said.

“Our seniors said to me, ‘Thank you. Thank you for keeping us safe.  Thank you for moving it inside.’ They don’t want to be a part of this stuff, either,” Johnson added. “That’s not something we want to have to think about on a spectacular day like graduation day.”

Johnson did not mention any specific threats.

In January, Bartram senior Christopher Braxton, 17, was shot and killed a block from school.

Original story follows

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — To protect schoolchildren from neighborhood violence, Mayor Jim Kenney and City Council members Monday announced the city would spend $1.8 million for 100 security cameras around 19 schools within the School District of Philadelphia.

The cameras would be installed near schools particularly affected by gun violence. City officials made the announcement outside Bartram High School, where student Christopher Braxton, 17, was shot and killed just a block from the school earlier this year.

“If we had those cameras working several months ago back in early January, late January, we probably would have identified right then and there who shot Christopher Braxton,” said Bartram Principal Brian Johnson.

“We need to stop losing almost a generation of young people who take out their beefs and their arguments by shooting each other,” Kenney told reporters.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the cameras are meant to deter crime around schools and to capture evidence if a crime happens.

“A child or parent should never, ever have to worry about being deliberately harmed in, or on the way to and from, our schools.” Outlaw said.

Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez said the cameras will be another tool against gun violence.

“We also need to create a culture [where] if you’re going to do something, somebody might be watching you,” she said.

Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke (center) during an announcement of new security cameras near 19 schools where gun violence affected students.
Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke (center) during an announcement of new security cameras near 19 schools where gun violence affected students. Photo credit Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

Council President Darrell Clarke said officers will be watching in real time.

“Police officers and our analysts will be able to look at these cameras throughout the day 24/7, and be able to pull up different locations so they can actually capture — and prevent, which is more important — crime,” said Clarke.

School District of Philadelphia Deputy Chief of School Safety Craig Johnson said officers at the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center [DVIC] can monitor the cameras at any time.

“These cameras will feed right into the Real-Time Crime Center at the DVIC, which means they have the ability to be monitored 24/7,” said Johnson.

Johnson said the district’s current cameras – most of which are analog – are designed to cover the immediate school area.  The new cameras, he said, will cover students to and from schools.

95 children under age 18 have been shot in 2022, according to city statistics as of Monday afternoon.

The School District of Philadelphia identified these schools where the cameras are to be installed:
- Bartram High School
- Roberto Clemente Middle School
- Dobbins High School
- Duckrey Elementary School
- Edison High School
- Fels High School
- Frankford High School
- Ben Franklin High School
- Harding Middle School
- Lincoln High School
- Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts
- Mastbaum Area Vocational School
- Meehan Middle School
- Northeast Community Propel Academy
- Northeast High School
- Roxborough High School
- School of the Future
- South Philadelphia High School
- Woodrow Wilson Middle School

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio