With just three weeks before the start of school, CPS reveals its "Safe Passage" routes, to get kids to their new schools. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.
A day after Chicago Public Schools parents bemoaned the lack of information about the city's "Safe Passage" program, the mayor's office on Friday released the routes thousands of students will take when school starts in a couple weeks.
According to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, the routes were chosen through months of input from community members, teachers, principals, students, parents and police.
The map is pretty extensive with more than 60 Safe Passage routes highlighted across the city. CPS parents should receive this information in the mail soon, the city said.
"Very shortly -- Monday, as a matter of fact, -- Chicago Public Schools will be mailing out to our welcoming school parents a back-to-school mailer that will include the Safe Passage maps," CPS Chief Safety and Security Officer Jadine Chou explained.
Parents like Jeanette Taylor, who has two children in CPS, remain skeptical about the program, which aims to keep a watchful eye on students as they pass to and from school.
"It's not finished," Taylor said. "[Officials] haven't sat down with the parents and the people in the community to really talk out a really safe plan for these kids that are going to be walking through gangs, drugs, killings [and] prostitutions."
The city says 600 newly hired safety workers in yellow vests will be positioned along the routes around closing schools and welcoming schools at arrival and dismissal times.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said community policing officers have signed up nearly 1,800 volunteers to help be the eyes and ears along routes as well.
Safety remains a concern for parents who say they don't know who these Safe Passage workers will be or how they will protect thousands of students walking through dangerous neighborhoods to get to their new schools
According to the mayor's office, Safe Passage work has been ongoing, including demolishing 14 buildings and cleaning up more than 200 vacant lots and thousands of graffiti markings, but all city departments will be involved including police and community volunteers.
Hundreds of new workers will begin their training next week to be ready for Aug 26 th the first day of school.