CPS parents `walk the walk` along kids` new routes to school - KMSP-TV

CPS parents `walk the walk` along kids` new routes to school

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Some parents of Chicago Public School children who are upset with the list of city school closings took action Tuesday morning to show their displeasure.

The walk was chilly, rainy, and about one mile long. But King Elementary parents walked all the way to Jensen School across some busy intersections, to show what enrollment numbers don't show.

The Raise Your Hand Coalition, Blocks Together, COFI and Save Our Neighborhood Schools worked together to highlight their concerns over the effect the potential closures may have on their children.

They hope this demonstration will show the mayor and the participating public the dangers their kids may face over the distance they'll have to walk. They're also taking this opportunity to show how overcrowding will probably be an issue in many classrooms due to the consolidation aspect of the CPS plan.

The demonstrators took a route west on Polk Street past abandoned buildings, under a viaduct, alongside a vacant lot to show what hazards elementary school kids would pass on their daily commute.

"You'll go past some housing projects, a homeless shelter," 28th ward Alderman Jason Ervin said. "You'll go through some viaducts - and this is what we feel is not the safest walk for our children."

They said they saw vagrants, ex-offenders, gang activity and drugs on the street - and they want CPS authorities to see it too.

"This is the highest concentration of sex offenders," one walker said. "They're going to pass through that. They don't know who these people are. We don't know who they are either."

Organizers also hope to show the positive aspects of the schools the district plans to close. They hope to get CPS to reconsider their plan, which is the district's effort to help close a $1 billion budget deficit.

CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett said she acknowledges the pain and inconvenience of change, but says that leaving kids in bad schools would be a crime. She said if this plan moves forward, then all children would receive a better education

They invited Mayor Emanuel to join them in a tour of the actual walk some students will have to make to get to their new schools. Although he did not participate, Ald. Bob Fioretti did make the Tuesday morning trek.

One walk began at King Elementary at 8:30 a.m., and ended at Jensen School. The other walk will being at Leif Ericson Elementary at 3:45 p.m. and will end at Sumner School.

There are a number of public meetings on the school reboot plan scheduled for Tuesday night. The meetings start at 5 p.m. at Dunbar, Harper, Raybee, Harlan, Young, Clemente High, Manly and Kenwood High Schools.

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