City Pledges $25 Million to Fight Violence in Schools

Neighborhood watchers and culture of calm programs coming

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An animated Mayor Richard Daley offers up a story to illustrate what law enforcement is up against with guns in the homes and on the streets.

    Chicago has a violence problem.

    Need proof? How about 60 shootings last weekend alone?

    Mayor Daley, public school's CEO Ron Huberman, and other city and community leaders plan to fight the violence at the school level.

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    Thirty-three CPS students were killed during '01-'10 school year.

    "The safest place a kid can be is inside one of our schools," Huberman said as he talked about getting more young people to focus on education and staying in school outside Hirsch Metro High School on the south side.

    Outside schools is a different story. That's why officials announced a plan Tuesday to deploy $25 million in federal stimulus funds for anti-violence programs in Chicago's Public Schools.

    The money will benefit three programs.

    About $10 million will go toward mentoring 1,500 high school students at 13 high risk high schools across the city.

    Nearly $5 million will go to fund a school community watch. Around 390 community "watchers" will keep tabs on students walking to and from schools. The 390 watchers will break out into teams of 20 or 30 per neighborhood, and keep watch along designated safety routes.

    Another $10 million will go toward the system's "Culture of Calm" initiative, in which students will receive training in behavioral management, leadership training and conflict resolution. "Culture of calm" will be implemented at 38 high schools where students are at a high-risk for violence.

    Daley also says the city is already its reviewing its legal options pending the Supreme Court's decision on the city gun ban.
    "Guns do not provide the goodness of society, they provide the evilness of society," said Daley.

    The violence prevention will start being implemented in the next few weeks.

    Public Schools CEO Huberman says this year was slightly safer for students. 218 student shootings were reported this school year compared to 258 last year. Thirty two students were killed last school year, 27 this school year.

    The violence prevention programs will also benefit 59 community organizations.