Hoping to continue what the mayor says is a trend of improving safety in schools, hundreds of people on Wednesday fanned out to the city's summer Safe Haven zones to call for an end to gun violence.
With chants of "put the guns down" and "stop the gunfire," the Chicago Public Schools students, their parents and community leaders gathered at 110 churches that serve as the Safe Haven sites.
The Safe Haven program is operated by CPS' Office of Faith Based Initiatives and helps keep kids off the streets during summer months and provides them with meals and activities in a safe place.
The action comes on the same day Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the just-completed school year was the safest on record since the district began tracking student safety data in 2007.
A statement from Emanuel's office touted:
- more than 27,000 fewer out of school suspensions,
- more than 1,300 fewer CPS students expelled,
- more than 1,000 fewer in-school arrests of CPS students,
- 49 fewer CPS students who were victims of shooting, and
- a 12 percent drop in the number of students who were victims of homicides, including a 50 percent drop over the prior school year.
The Safe Haven program runs through Aug. 8. The first day of class for the 2014-15 school year is Sept. 2.