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Is privilege the reason Benjamin Franklin/SLA is getting attention? Also, Phillies fire Gabe Kapler | Morning Newsletter

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Tests have revealed damaged asbestos inside Benjamin Franklin High School (above), which is now shared with Science Leadership Academy.
Tests have revealed damaged asbestos inside Benjamin Franklin High School (above), which is now shared with Science Leadership Academy.Read moreTIM TAI / Staff Photographer

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

The discovery of asbestos has indefinitely shut down the building that was being prepared to house Benjamin Franklin High School and Science Leadership Academy. But the construction project that stirred it up has been an issue for some time. And those who have lived through it have a theory for why the crisis is getting attention now. The Phillies are turning their attention toward a manager search. The team fired Gabe Kapler on Thursday after another disappointing season.

— Ray Boyd (@RayBoydDigital,

Near-constant construction noise and dust plagued Benjamin Franklin High School last school year. When classes began this September, it was still an active construction site. But work was shut down and the building was closed indefinitely when damaged asbestos was discovered.

One thing has changed since last year. Students from Science Leadership Academy had moved in. Those who lived through the construction say there have been issues from the start. But they say action wasn’t taken until whiter, wealthier students arrived. It gets to an uncomfortable reality in Philadelphia and schools across the country.

SLA students have noticed the disparities themselves. “I have been in a poorly ventilated space for a month,” one student said. “They have been in it for 18 months."

On Monday, the two schools will be moving to new locations.

It’s that time of year. Lovers of fear are flocking to Philly-area Halloween attractions. But those establishments are trying to do more than just be scary. Many also hope to educate and be sensitive of stereotypes.

For example, “Terror Behind the Walls” takes over Eastern State Penitentiary every year and is the biggest moneymaker for the nonprofit that runs it. But you’ll never hear it referred to as Eastern State when you’re there for the show. Organizers believe they have a responsibility to be thoughtful of what happened on the grounds when mixing history and haunts.

Kelly George, an assistant professor of media and communication, says there’s fun to be had and money to be made in such attractions. But they’ve become somewhat of an “unintentional anniversary” to discuss how the holiday can perpetuate stereotypes of people with mental and physical disabilities.

Gabe Kapler managed the Phillies for two disappointing seasons. Now, the Kapler era is over. The team announced his firing Thursday after he failed to make the playoffs yet again.

Kapler had passion, fresh ideas, and a lot of love for his players. But ultimately, it wasn’t going to work in Philadelphia, wrote columnist Bob Brookover. He explained that two shortcomings doomed the young manager.

It sounds like fans are pretty happy with team owner John Middleton’s letting Kapler go. But could more moves be on the horizon? Reporter Scott Lauber says general manager Matt Klentak should be on high alert.

The question on everyone’s mind now: Who should be the next manager?

What you need to know today

  1. The trial in the controversial Rittenhouse Square stabbing got underway Thursday. Prosecutors painted Michael White as a man who made a series of choices on the night Sean Schellenger died. But White’s attorneys outlined a different tale for the jurors.

  2. A four-day search came to an end Thursday after the body of a 6-year-old boy was found in a Delaware canal following a deadly crash.

  3. Gerrymandering might not have center stage anymore, but Pennsylvania voters still have strong feelings about the issue. My colleague Jonathan Lai breaks down those sentiments in a series of charts.

  4. According to a recent study, Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s highest childhood obesity rates. But the report does offer some good news.

  5. A report on climate change says some birds — including the state bird — could disappear from Pennsylvania backyards if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t curbed.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

One of me and my pup’s absolute favorite spots for a stroll in Philly 👣 🐾. Great pic, @denisewalksphilly.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s Interesting

  1. Food critic Craig LaBan’s 2019 Dining Guide is almost here 😬. To make sure we’re nice and hungry for it, LaBan offers a preview of this year’s delectable theme: Cravings.

  2. Who do you like in the Eagles’ critical showdown with the Vikings this weekend? Beat writer Paul Domowitch has a full scouting report and a nail-biting prediction.

  3. Girard College is hosting two prominent filmmakers who are telling the stories of black people healing themselves across history — showing resilience in the face of medical discrimination.

  4. A car crash last month sidelined actor and Philly native Kevin Hart. Despite his substantial injuries, Hart is reportedly back on set and working on a sequel to one of his many films.

  5. Meanwhile, another Philly-born actor is developing a Fresh new spin-off of his ever-popular 90′s sitcom.


“As I write this, the new generation of Philadelphia’s future has recently begun kindergarten. The choices we make for the city’s youngest students will resonate far into the future. ... We owe it to our children to provide them with the opportunities that can only come through learning to read. Anything else is incomprehensible.” — Former Philadelphia School District principal Deanna Burney writes that Philly must take steps to improve childhood literacy rates.

  1. Philly organizer and volunteer Dave Brindley is glad to see the city embrace street cleaning. But he writes that the new program needs a serious reboot if it’s going to work.

  2. In our opinion team’s latest Pro/Con, two legal scholars debate whether prison inmates should be allowed to vote.

What we’re reading

  1. Judging from the weeds and debris, it’s hard to imagine anyone would fight all that hard for one West Philly lot. But one woman has made it her mission to turn it into an “Earthship.” PlanPhilly has the story.

  2. Why do some people seem to have such a deep appreciation for reading? The Atlantic dives into that question, examining household and culture.

  3. The Ringer takes a look at five NBA players whose performance could swing their team’s fortunes this upcoming season. A Sixer cracked the list, but it’s probably not a name you’d expect.

A Daily Dose of | Tears

Northeast High School quarterback Charles Britt couldn’t help but let his emotions show when he was granted eligibility for a final season of football — a bright spot for a family recently struck by death and hardship.