Student Stories

“We believe a second chance, not an arrest, is the best option to improve the academic, social, and well-being of our young people.”

Kevin Bethel, Co – Founder, Police School Diversion Program

HER SECOND CHANCE

In the fall of 2014, an academically gifted 17-year- old North Philadelphia girl was caught with a small amount of marijuana in her school backpack—and she could have been arrested for drug possession. Had she entered the justice system as a result, she would have been torn from her family and community, and might have been damaged beyond repair. But she did not enter the system. The Philadelphia Police Department school officer and a dedicated social worker at the Department of Human Services saw that this girl had been struggling as her parents went through a rocky divorce. The social worker understood how she could be led into thinking that marijuana would ease her anguish. So the social worker, along with a school district police officer and Philadelphia Police Department school officers, enrolled the girl in the Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program. She was not arrested. And this past June, she received her high-school diploma. This fall, she’ll be a college freshman.

HIS SECOND CHANCE

In the fall of 2015, a teenager from South Philadelphia entered the Police Diversion after possessing a narcotic on school grounds. Prior to entering the police diversion program, the teenager had no prior contact with the police. He had difficulty attending school on time and focusing on his academics. Also, he had no real plans for the future and did not think college was an option for him since he didn’t have any positive influences in his life. With support from the program staff at Diversified Community Services, the teenager was able to improve his attendance, grades, and outlook on life. He is now a senior in high school and he plans to take the SAT and apply for colleges this year.