What was billed as the final training session for Chicago Public Schools safe passage workers resembled more of a pep rally on Wednesday.
More than 600 workers gathered to hear speakers such as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CPD superintendant Garry McCarthy and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett talk abut the importance of keeping school kids safe when classes being on Monday.
"That's the future of the city of Chicago, our most precious resource, the children of the city of Chicago, and you are their first point of contact when they are on their way to school," Emanuel said.
Last week, safe passage workers took part in hands-on training sessions to prepare them for the job of watching over all of the routes, including an additional 53 routes as a result of school closings.
"I grew up in a bad neighborhood, so I really feel like we really need all of us out there," safe passage worker Darrell Thomas said.
There is growing concern about violence along safe passage routes this summer, including a mass shooting in Uptown Monday.
Officials say violence on the routes is actually down, but some of the workers still have it in the back of their minds.
"Bad things are going to happen. When I'm out there, I'm definitely going to try and prevent these crimes from happening," Thomas said.