AG Shapiro talks social justice reform with Cheltenham High students

Jim Melwert
February 05, 2020 - 2:28 pm
Josh Shapiro at Cheltenham High

Jim Melwert/KYW Newsradio

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CHELTENHAM, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro sat down with a group of Cheltenham High School student equity ambassadors to talk about everything from mental health issues and school funding to gun violence and for-profit prisons.

“What we’re hearing is their concern about the division in this country, their ideas for how to bring people together, their ideas to make sure that everybody’s voice counts,” Shapiro said.

The attorney general is meeting with students across Pennsylvania to learn about the issues they face and how his office fits into shaping social justice reform. He said it can help his office tailor their approach, for example, in how they make arrests or craft new policies.

“When we were growing up, we didn’t deal with a lot of the issues they are dealing with today,” he said. “The inequities in the system, the social justice challenges, the mental health challenges, cyberbullying. And these are real issues.”

Vice Principal Craig Metcalfe said Cheltenham High is on the leading edge as change agents, fixing issues like closing the achievement gap.

“Here at our high school, we’ve always pushed a lot of social justice change and reform,” Metcalfe said. “We are a very diverse high school. We actually have more black students than white students, and so we have a dynamic that is unlike other schools.”

Next year, Metcalfe said Cheltenham High is starting a class centered on social justice involvement, and to see the group in action is “a dream come true.”