To ease the disruption from the largest set of school closings in the nation’s history, parents, police, volunteers, and district employees in Chicago’s public schools all showed up for the start of school this week to make sure students got to class safely.
Concerns that gang-related violence in the city would be exacerbated by the consolidations or closures this year of 49 of the city’s more than 600 schools prompted a surge in community support and attention, and the expansion of a school district program designed to help students get safely to and from school.
More than 57 miles of Chicago’s streets were patrolled by some 1,200 staff and volunteers with the district’s Safe Passage program as the school year began on Monday.
The Safe Passage program was started in 2009, and 37 schools, most of them high schools, hosted the program last year. But in the wake of the closures, 51 new schools were added to that list this year. <Read more.>