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CPS Parents 'Walk The Walk' To Highlight Safety Issues Of School Closings

By aaroncynic in News on Apr 10, 2013 4:30PM

Parents of Chicago Public School students and community activists walked the routes students from schools scheduled to be shuttered will have to walk to their new schools yesterday. Community groups like The Raise Your Hand Coalition, Blocks Together and Save Our Neighborhood Schools put together the action to show the hazards children will face walking through neighborhoods to a welcoming school. Last week, parents and activists passed an invitation to Mayor Rahm Emanuel to join them, but he didn’t show.

Fox Chicago reports the first walk began on the west side at King Elementary at 8:30 a.m. and ended at Jensen Elementary. The group highlighted their passing through of abandoned lots and vacant buildings, like in the photo below.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) told Fox News “You’ll go past some housing projects, a homeless shelter. You’ll go through some viaducts - and this is what we feel is not the safest walk for our children.” Lakecha Green, mother of an 11-year-old and an 8-year-old, told NBC5, “I don't want my boys to walk through violence. I don't want them to walk through the gangs.”

Meanwhile, according to WGN, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett staged walking interviews with reporters at Fenger High School. Bennett touted expanding the Safe Passage Program, which would double in size and budget when CPS closes the schools. Bennett told WGN, “we are vetting our thinking around safe passage that we are able to have a plan vetted with the police department who can advise us about empty lots and vacant buildings so we can ensure that our children walking to our schools will be safe.”