“Chicago Public Schools added nearly $8 million to the program and is hiring an additional 600 people to escort students along designated safety routes during arrival and dismissal times.”
Does the publishing of safe passage routes mean other routes are not safe? In many cases the “safe” passage is only one block long in each of four directions from the school–many other blocks undesignated “Safe Passage” must be traversed in order to get to school. These are not just high schools, but middle schools and elementary schools. They are not citywide, but selected–mostly determined by the fact that the City CLOSED many schools this year, forcing some students to walk from a closed local school district to one that is nearby, thus having to walk through areas they hadn’t before. But a one block-long safe passage zone seems to me to be a bandaid. They closed the schools to save money, and now they are spending $8 million to address the concerns of parents caused by the closings.
The streets here are a mess in terms of violence in certain neighborhoods (these safe passages are not all in what I would have called ‘bad neighborhoods, by the way), and the policies that have been put in place by the city leaders here for the past 40 years have not made the slightest difference in the prospects of a young child growing up in these neighborhoods, nor is there the slightest discernible difference being made today by these policies such that you could plausibly project a turnaround in the near or distant future. Until something really radical is done (and don’t ask me what–I am not running for office telling people how I will help change their lives), the local news coverage 40 years from now will be about shootings, gangs, drugs (maybe), and other features of a neighborhood in which a 5-year-old boy has the same chance of ending up in prison as one does now. This is not compassion. It’s indifference, as long as the votes can be farmed.