A Principal and a Prosecutor Work Together to Save Young People from Going to Jail and Ruining Their Lives

Principal Linda Wayman and federal prosecutor Rob Reed stand in front of Strawberry Mansion High School. (Gabriela Barrantes / DAILY NEWS STAFF)
Principal Linda Wayman and federal prosecutor Rob Reed stand in front of Strawberry Mansion High School. (Gabriela Barrantes / DAILY NEWS STAFF)

FEDERAL prosecutor Robert Reed spent 40 years putting violent young criminals in prison for life.

Linda Cliatt-Wayman spent 30 years teaching and administering in Philadelphia public schools, trying to save as many kids as she could from ending up in front of prosecutors like Reed, or worse, from sudden death on the streets of Strawberry Mansion.

Reed was passionate about prosecution. In U.S. v. Larry Johnson and Ronnie Robinson, he got both defendants sentenced to 117 years without parole for several 1994 armed carjackings that included torture and sexual assault.

He successfully prosecuted 61 members of the “OK Corral” cocaine gangs that terrorized Hunting Park in the ’80s. Nine defendants were convicted of murder.

Wayman is as fervent about saving young students as Reed was about imprisoning young criminals.

Until 2012, Reed and Wayman lived in such different worlds that they’d never met.

And then they did. And Strawberry Mansion High hasn’t been the same since.

The students, 97 percent of whom are African-American, are still 100 percent economically disadvantaged and 36 percent “academically disabled.”

But since Wayman took over, although enrollment has increased from 366 to 445 students, assaults per school year have dropped from 26 to nine, and weapons incidents dropped from eight to three.

The school is off the state’s “persistently dangerous schools” list for the first time since 2008-09.

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Source: Philadelphia Daily News | DAN GERINGER, Daily News Staff Writer [email protected], 215-854-5961