Chicago's $8 million push to protect students from gangs

Chicago’s $8 million push to protect students from gangs by Jamie Gumbrecht

To read this article on the CNN website, click here.

Anxiety simmered in the days before Chicago’s school year began. Everyone there knew about the city’s intractable gang problems, the explosive violence that came with it — and the dangerous, shifting territories schoolchildren might cross even more often just to get to school.

Chicago Public Schools had just gone through the largest school consolidation in U.S. history — 55 schools absorbed students from 49 that closed. Before the first day of classes in August, Chicago schools invested $155 million in some that remained open: new science labs, computers, libraries, air conditioning and art rooms meant to encourage parents to keep their children enrolled. To assuage fears about the journey to school, $8 million was spent to hire 600 additional workers for Safe Passage, a program that stations the watchful eyes of adults along popular walking routes to schools.