CPS Beefs Up Safe Passage as School Year Approaches

CPS: 600 new staffers hired to patrol Safe Passage routes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The school district is taking steps to make the trip to school safer for thousands of children heading back to school. Christian Farr reports. (Published Monday, Jul 29, 2013)

    In an effort to make sure children are safe when school resumes in less than a month, Chicago Public Schools officials this week have begun ramping up their Safe Passage program at all welcoming schools.

    "Everyone wants these children to be safe," CPS' chief Safety and Security Officer, Jadine Chou, said Monday.

    One of the enhancements to the program is new signage along the Safe Passage routes.

    "Children will know, as they're traveling down these routes, that they are on a Safe Passage route," said Chou.

    So far, city and CPS officials said they've hired 600 people for the program. They'll be tasked with watching children to and from school. Additionally, 400 abandoned vehicles have been towed and more than 1,000 buildings have been inspected, officials said.

    The Black United Fund of Illinois is one of 19 community partners that CPS has engaged to help in the hiring of Safe Passage employees. The Fund is hiring 40 slots and so far officials there say 300 applications have been received.

    The Fund's president and CEO, Henry English, said he's seen success in the 11 years he's been involved with Safe Passage.

    "[There's been an] increase in attendance [and a] reduction of incidents. That process makes kids feel a lot safer. They recognized the vest. If there's a problem they know there's an individual out there that they can go to," said English.

    The first day of school is August 26.