Evergreen Park Schools Supt. Dr. Diane Cody sent a note to parents last week after she says she was alerted by police about a suspected gang member's funeral being held within walking distance of the district's five schools. Christian Farr reports.
A wake and funeral being held Monday and Tuesday for a suspected gang member has put several Evergreen Park schools on alert.
District 124 has asked parents from five schools to make arrangements to pick up their children both days, and elementary schools were instructed to cancel their 11:30 a.m. Tuesday recess. One principal was asked to walk with elementary students at Monday dismissal.
"We want to make sure our parents and students are safe," said Dr. Diane Cody, superintendent of Evergreen Park School District.
The wake was scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday at Kenny Brothers Funeral Home, located within several blocks of the schools. The funeral begins at 11 a.m. Tuesday with a procession heading west following the service.
The schools -- Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest elementary schools, and Central Junior High -- were dismissed at 3 p.m.
Police went door-to-door late last week warning residents about the funeral.
"With all the gang members and everything, I don't want retaliation and they start shooting, and you have to worry about your kids," said parent Laura Heilman.
The funeral home, run by Dignity Memorial Network, said it will work with local law enforcement to provide security for the funeral.
"Our first concern is for the safety of the community, said Jessica McDunn, spokeswoman for Dignity Memorial Network.