December 29, 2022
Overbrook High School will receive $500,000 from the state to improve security of the building and areas around its campus in the wake of the recent shooting that injured four students one block from the school.
The shooting occurred on Nov. 23 outside a beauty salon at 60th and Oxford streets shortly before noon. Classes had been dismissed early that day for parent-teacher conferences. Two teenage girls and two teenage boys were wounded. None of their injuries were life-threatening. Bullets smashed through window of the salon, but no one inside was hurt.
Rep. Morgan Cephas, whose district includes much of West Philadelphia, helped secure the safety funding for Overbrook High School from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The money will be spent on security upgrades and to improve communications technology.
"In light of recent shootings impacting schools in the area, it is critical we focus on the safety of our students," Cephas said. "I'm glad that we were able to work together to identify and prioritize school safety needs for Overbrook and that we were able to bring these much-needed funds down from the state to clear the way for improved safety in and around the school."
Roxborough High School similarly received $500,000 from Harrisburg to spend on it's security improvements in October. In Sept. 27, a shooting outside Roxborough after a football scrimmage killed 14-year-old Nicholas Elizalde and injured four other teens. Police said six gunmen had waited inside a Ford Explorer parked on the 4700 block of Pechin Street before exiting the vehicle and firing more than 60 shots at the football players, who had been walking back to the school from Roxborough's stadium about a block away.
A 17-year-old, who was not on the football team nor a student at the school, was the intended target, police said. He was injured along with three Roxborough students. Elizalde, a freshman at Walter B. Saul High School, was killed.
Five suspects have been identified in connection with that shooting, and three arrests have been made.
In a statement to the Inquirer about the funding for Overbrook, Superintendent Tony B. Watlington said School District of Philadelphia will continue to collaborate with legislators to protect students during and after school hours. The district's Office of School Safety has added additional safety measures, including patrols and other programs designed to keep students safe when arriving and leaving school grounds.
Cephas added, "There is no one answer to the gun violence threatening the lives of our youth, but collaboration amongst stakeholders is one sure way to help get resources to the places they are needed the most."