The eyes of the city were on Chicago Public Schools “Safe Passage” routes Monday morning as a 28-year-old man was shot along one of the routes and a 14-year-old boy was shot to death near another one, [on Sunday] the day before school starts.
The 14-year-old boy was shot and killed within a block of a welcoming elementary school, Melody Stem School , 3937 W. Wilcox. It’s at least the third fatal shooting along or near a Safe Passage route since mid-August[...]
Kelvina Nance, 25, said she’s not overly impressed with the Safe Passage route and said she plans to walk her 6-year-old twins to school.
“It can’t be too safe because kids are still getting shot up,” Nance said, adding, “Wherever we go, we’re still on the West Side, and there are still going to be shootings.”[...]
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who’ve been navigating the rocky aftermath of closing 47 elementary schools this year, also insist the program is ready. Emanuel has declared it an “all-hands-on-deck” scenario in which every adult in Chicago — especially city workers — should lend a hand.
But Pastor Marshall Hatch of New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, who fought school closings, questions the program’s substance.
“I’m concerned that much of it is more of a public relations campaign than a safe passage plan,” Hatch said Sunday night. “Signs don’t protect people, and I don’t think there’s enough of a community partnership to have something that is effective over the long run. But we’ll have to try to make the best out of a bad situation.”
Six hundred newly hired Safe Passage workers in yellow vests fanned out early Monday along 53 new routes marked with bright yellow “Safe Passage” signs.