Thousands of Chicago children will be walking a different route to school as they begin the new academic year on Monday morning after the city closed about 50 elementary schools to help plug a projected $1bn education budget gap. Last month the district laid off more than 2,000 teachers and staff on top of the roughly 1,000 culled as part of the school closings.[...]
Most of Chicago’s cuts have taken place in the predominantly poor, African-American and Latino south and west sides, which is also where the majority of the city’s record 506 murders occurred last year.
The city has created 600 “safe passage” routes manned by adults and meant to try to ensure the safety of students crossing gang territories. But in recent weeks at least two people have been killed on those paths. One incident saw four injured and one dead after a shooting in front of a church. Another saw a 54-year-old man shot on the safe passage route that leads to Drake Elementary in Bronzeville.
Lillian Allen, a mother of two students at Drake, said the violence was “nerve-racking”.
Meanwhile, Annie Stoball will on Monday walk her nine-year-old granddaughter Kayla four blocks to her first day at Chicago’s Gresham Elementary, traversing the territory of two different gangs. She felt much safer taking Kayla across the street to Morgan Elementary.
The grandmother said: “This is dangerous. We’re going right into the heart of the gangs.”
Sunday, August 25, 2013
INCREDIBLE Rahmaland Braces for the First Day of School; Safe Passage Routes
at 3:30 PM