Anacostia Safe Passage Zone Town Hall Recommendations

We know that when communities come together, change is possible.  That’s why on March 28th, KIPP DC and the Deputy Mayor for Education’s office brought together more than 75 families, students, staff, and community members to identify and solve challenges related to safe passage.  Using a design thinking approach, participants identified community assets and resources along with potential barriers to student safe passage in their zone.  From there, participants teamed up to ideate solutions and build off the ideas of others using collaborative techniques such as “yes and”.

During this activity, participants learned the abstract concept of “Yes And” through a paired activity where groups where asked to create a new, innovative version of a typical household item (microwave).  Participants then used what they learned in that activity, and applied it to the team identified recommendations. The purpose of this activity was to prepare teams to contribute to ideas without the fear of the word no, which can cause distrust and fear among group participants.

Safe passage working group

By the end of the night, the group identified the following recommendations:

Ideas for Communities:

  • Trusted community members manning the block at specific times throughout the day to ensure students get to and from schools safely
  • Designate neighborhood safe spots near public transportation that students can go to if they are in danger
  • Create communication about safe spots
  • Designate people in safe spots that are easy to talk to and have passed a background check
  • Create a community group chat (neighborhood watch chat/app)

Shared Ideas:

  • Schools and city government could provide students with free shuttle services to school and from schools at various pickup points throughout the city
  • Schools and or city government should provide students with car sharing vouchers (Lyft, Uber, etc.)

Ideas for Metropolitan Police Department:

  • Increase police presence in and near bus and train stations. This keeps away people trying to commit crimes, and builds trust within the community (bikes or walking).

Ideas for WMATA:

  • WMATA could place alarms on platforms. Participants noted that the current system is a dial-in system that allows you to speak with a person at the metro; however, it doesn’t notify others that are around that there is danger present. Participants noted they’d feel much safer knowing alarms would be present at Metro stations.
  • Run more shuttles between stations
  • Shorten time between buses on school routes

Ideas for Students:

  • Use the buddy system (travel in groups). Always travel with a friend when traveling to and from school.

Ideas for Elected Officials:

  • Incentivize Uber and Lift to partner with schools by giving discounts to take students home when needed
  • Decriminalize hopping the gates
  • Extend the free circulator deeper into Wards 7 and 8
  • Decentralize meetings and make decisions in public places not at the Wilson Building, allowing students and families to attend and give input
  • Make student safety a measurable priority

Ideas for Schools:

  • Schools should create peer mediation groups. Schools should also be in communication with each other to ensure that issues are resolved cross campus as well.
    • Intra-school peer mediation
    • Inter-school peer mediation
  • Provide students with tips on how to stay safe in school assemblies.
  • Schools should provide WMATA with afterschool schedules (i.e games, or anything that would cause an influx of students using the Metro later than normal)
  • Create a system to receive anonymous tips before incidents occur