While most of the city's attention has been focused on the situation inside the troubled Philadelphia School District, things inside Girard College seem to be in a state of rapid decline.
There are a number of reasons I can't approach this story as a neutral reporter but I am happy to provide a place here for folks on campus to tell their stories in the hope that the city's reporters will take notice.
Last semester, I heard disturbing reports about things like the kitchen running out of food and many students who hadn't eaten much at dinner the night before (apparently pork was served and many student don't dig on swine) receiving only fruit at breakfast -- hardly enough to fire up the brain for a day of learning.
I've heard repeated reports of former staffers and students being discouraged, or outright prohibited, from visiting the campus. It's not for me to blame any of this on Autumn Adkins, the thirtysomething who became Girard's president in 2009, but things do not seem to be moving in the right direction.
Most recently, on April 14, my sources say, about 10 teachers and staff members were given official layoff notices. All of them showed up to work the next day, where students were understandably upset. That happens at any school where beloved teachers depart, but at Girard it's important to remember that the school itself is designed to be a -- and sometimes, the only -- stable and consistent thing in the child's life.
Aside from the money story, there's a human story here. Regardless of the school's history or what anybody thinks about Stephen Girard, there are kids on campus hurting and they deserve better.
Do you work at Girard College, or are you a student? Please feel free to leave your thoughts/tips/information here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Hail Girard.