With 2 students gunned down in recent years, charter school plans to teach streets survival skills

Mike DeNardo
December 10, 2019 - 4:06 pm
Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School.

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Scarred by the shooting deaths of two students in recent years, a charter school in Spring Garden is planning to teach the skills of surviving on the streets.

The founder of the Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School wants her students to know what to do when gunfire breaks out. Veronica Joyner is inviting police and Army personnel into school to teach students street survival skills.

"I think that my students need to be prepared. So I have to take the teaching outside of the school and the classroom and teach those students what to do when they hear gunshots," she said.

Less than two weeks ago, a 16-year-old student at Joyner's school, Ceani Smalls, was shot and killed as she got off a SEPTA bus. Three years ago, another student at the school was also shot in the back and killed.  

Joyner said her students might have lived if they knew how to take cover.

"They hear the shots. Their first instinct is to run. And maybe that's not what they need to do at that particular time," she added.

Parents at the school — which teaches students in grades one to 12 — are getting letters saying their students can opt out if they wish. 

Joyner said the drills will begin as early as next week.