Grateful for report on private school racism

I really appreciated reading Chandler Fattah’s article in the Local this week about the experiences of Black students at primarily white private schools.  Her report of the racial slurs and bullying they have endured was very revealing.

I think it takes a lot of courage to address this issue directly, especially since the reporter is currently a student at one such school, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH).  She was able to bring to the surface issues that are usually handled behind closed doors.  As Dr. Druggan, Head of School, said, “We need to work out way ensure transparency in discipline,” since the way they seem to have handled complaints in the past was in private “honor council” or “judicial board” meetings.

Apparently, these private sessions, meant to protect people’s identities, do not serve the purpose of helping nonwhite students to feel more comfortable in the school environment. I also thank Ms. Fattah for adding a very useful word to my vocabulary:  “misogynoir,” or misogyny directed at Black women. 

Ms. Fattah offers us one more example of how the young are leading the way, forcing us to really do something about important issues such as racism and climate change that have troubled us for generations.  I am very grateful to her for that!

Barbara Sheehan
Chestnut Hill

To school or not to school?

[Regarding the editorial, July 16] This is challenging question. One concern if schools do not reopen is that too many people in Philadelphia do not have internet access. And the libraries are not open, so they cannot get on the internet there. So how are children supposed to have class?

In Germany they reopened in May but had to shut down for a while because of an outbreak. They say they anticipate this pattern to continue – being open while they can but shutting down as they need to.  

New research in Germany shows that children do not play a major role in spreading the coronavirus. The study, conducted by scientists from Dresden Technical University, is the largest carried out on schoolchildren in Germany and found traces of the virus in less than 1% of the teachers and children tested. They take precautions at the schools, of course.

Gloria Rohlfs
Mt. Airy

Keep pets safe in heat

An animal safety alert due to excessive heat was issued this month advising people to keep their pets safe.  This year, one humane society is seeing an increase in calls over pets left alone in hot vehicles.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, far too many pets die from overheating when trapped in hot vehicles.  These are preventable tragedies.  Don’t take a chance.  ”Love ’em and leave ’em.”

Go to to learn about precautionary measures, signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and the importance of treatment following an emergency situation for a complication to heatstroke which is often fatal.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund ( can help with the status of applicable county, city and state laws addressing this issue.  They can advise also on citizen action in dire situations.  A 911 call will bring the quickest response.  In Pennsylvania, only law enforcement can break into a vehicle to rescue an animal in imminent danger and not be liable for damages.

One cruelty investigator said, ”We see a beloved dog’s last moments of life, the desperate pawing of a car window, the slow and painful death.  Too many, we can’t save in time.”

Bridget Irons
Chestnut Hill