WHAT IS THE PHILADELPHIA POLICE SCHOOL DIVERSION PROGRAM?
In May 2014, the Philadelphia Police Department partnered with the City’s Department of Human Services and the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) to implement the Police School Diversion Program. The Police School Diversion Program’s goal is to create alternatives to arrests for eligible youth by recognizing and addressing their needs with trauma-informed and developmentally approaches to improve short and long-term outcomes for them, their families and our communities. The program provides opportunities for qualifying students to avoid arrest for minor offenses and instead access prevention services that meet their underlying needs. By providing much-needed intervention services to students—and, crucially, their parents or caregivers—when they first get into trouble, the Police School Diversion Program has the potential to keep youth in school, prevent further disruptions, and create a more peaceful school environment.
The Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program’s Core Beliefs:
- We believe the school to prison pipeline is destroying the futures of our children and it must be dismantled.
- We believe zero tolerance policies do not make schools, children, or teachers safer.
- We believe a second chance, not an arrest, is the best option to improve the academic, social, and well-being of our young people.
- We believe a cross systems, community-based and trauma-centered approach is optimal for meeting young people’s needs.