Urban Prep Students Claim Gang Harassment

Administrators want more police to stop harassment, physical altercations

By Michael Kaplan and Natalie Martinez
|  Friday, Sep 23, 2011  |  Updated 12:41 PM CDT
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Leaders of the west campus of Urban Prep Academy met with parents Thursday night to discuss how to combat the groups of young men who are fighting and robbing students at gunpoint.

Leaders of the west campus of Urban Prep Academy met with parents Thursday night to discuss how to combat the groups of young men who are fighting and robbing students at gunpoint.

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Administrators at a West Side charter school said a further increase of police presence is needed to protect students who have been targeted and harassed by gangbangers as they walk to and from campus.

Leaders of the west campus of Urban Prep Academy met with parents Thursday night to discuss how to combat the groups of young men who are fighting and robbing students at gunpoint. Urban Prep is a college preparatory school with three campuses across the Chicago area.

"We are working directly with [Chicago Public Schools] and the Chicago Police Department to determine the best solution for making sure that our students are traveling safe to and from the campus each day," said Kelly Dickens, Urban Prep's vice president for institutional advancement.

Dickens said the harassment has escalated since the campus at 1326 W. 14th St. opened about a month ago. Parents said incidents are happening every day and the men responsible live in the CHA housing complex a few blocks north of the school.

"Meetings are happening and hopefully there will be an immediate solution," Dickens said. "More police presence would be ideal."

There already has been an increase of police presence in the area, but students at the meeting said they are still being chased.

In 2006, Urban Prep opened its first campus in Englewood, and 100 percent of the students in its first two graduating classes went on to college.

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