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Schools, guns, minimum wage

By Franklin Banaj and Hadassah Lopes

Our names are Franklin Banaj and Hadassah Lopes and we are students in the School District of Philadelphia. We are interested in Kevin Boyle’s work regarding education. As students of the school district, we appreciate the fact that he is pro-education and an advocate for lowering the cost of college tuition. His work on the REACH scholarship, a resource for students who are of lower-income status, showed us how dedicated he is to improving the lives of Philadelphia’s youth through education. We also appreciate that he voted against a bill that would lower the district’s budget by $1 billion. We would like to see him do more in regard to the budget. Schools are still struggling to provide adequate resources for students and our teachers consistently pay for materials out of their own pocket. We don’t see this as fair to either the students or the teachers. The lack of budget doesn’t allow students to learn to their full ability, and the lack of funds is causing teachers to pay money for resources they need in order to educate these students.

Budgeting in schools is not the only money-related issue we’ve noticed Boyle work toward. As soon-to-be college students, the minimum wage deeply affects how we will be able to pay our bills as we move away from home. Living in Philadelphia, with plans to stay local for college, it is extremely important that Philadelphia raises the minimum wage to balance the high cost of living. Having a static minimum wage in spite of inflation creates difficult living conditions and worrisome circumstances for young adults, such as us. The introduction of House Bill 2659 was an important step to help combat our fears as it repeals laws that prevent municipalities from raising their minimum wage.

Being students in Philadelphia reinforces our view on the importance of gun control. We often hear about gun violence happening only blocks from our school. Recently, our school had to go on lockdown due to a shooting on the Broad Street line. We support the bills that Kevin Boyle has cast to limit guns on the street, such as House Bill 717. We also support House Bill 2621 where Kevin Boyle stated that there should be no more than 15 rounds of ammunition in a magazine, which will limit mass shootings as it will take a longer time for a person to reload, meaning they will not be able to fire hundreds of rounds in a short span of time. We also like Kevin Boyle’s speech regarding common-sense gun laws. We agree with the part where he said people should be required to report missing and stolen guns. We believe this will help limit the number of guns on the street, limiting the murders and deaths that the city of Philadelphia is starting to become accustomed to. We don’t want this to be normal, and we want to feel safe on our streets, not fearful that at any moment a gun may threaten our lives. ••

Franklin Banaj and Hadassah Lopes are students at Masterman High School.

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