No CPS Killings Here

Gangs, not schools, to blame for teen violence

"What a difference a definition makes," Alexander Russo writes at the District 299 Chicago Schools Blog. "There've been only three Chicago-area school killings in the last 26 years -- including last year's NIU tragedy -- according to this Columbine anniversary package of stories from USA Today that is limited to in-school killings."

The news is even better than that for CPS. After all, the NIU tragedy took place at a university in DeKalb. And the other two incidents cited took place in Wilmette and Gary, Indiana.

In other words, kids who happen to attend Chicago Public Schools are indeed getting killed -- and that is beyond tragic. But it's not clear at all that CPS has anything to do with that.

"The fact is, the students can generally be safer inside the walls of a public school in Chicago than on the outside when the shooting starts," comments George N. Schmidt, of Substance News. (Though Schmidt also notes that "USA Today missed at least three murders inside Chicago public schools during the 1980s"; perhaps beause at least two of those were stabbings and not shootings.)

It's been said before: Gangs, not schools, are to blame for teen violence.

Another commenter on Russo's blog says, "Maybe the Chicago-area media should read this and take a clue from USA Today about what a school-related killing actually is. Then they could stop referring to all the killings of students who happen to have been enrolled in CPS at the time of their deaths as #-nd/rd/th CPS Student Killed."

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review. You can subscribe to his NBC RSS feed here.

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