Leroy Nunery: New schools chief can and will kick some butt

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One month into his new position, Acting Superintendent Leroy Nunery may have found the best way to make an impression on students in the Philadelphia School District: kicking some butt.

Nunery, a certified black belt, is expected to take part in a martial arts demonstration for students and community members Saturday at University City High School. The “Save Our Children Martial Arts Exhibition” is aimed at enlightening and empowering students, while showing them how to positively channel their energy, according to a write-up for the event.

“The general underlying message in the martial arts extravaganza Saturday is to address the bullying and flash mobs and things that have been in the news the past year or so,” said Deidre Darragh, a spokesperson with the district. “More than anything, it’s just a good reason to get the whole community together and just recognize [these issues] and have a dialogue about it.”

Darragh said the event, being organized by the district’s office of school safety and the city police department, will not encourage students to take matters into their own hands.

“It’s not as much to train the students in self-defense as it is to show them that there are other avenues to channel their energies into,” she said.

Nunery was named acting superintendent after Arlene Ackerman’s controversial exit, three years after he finished second to her in the job hunt.


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