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Schools Chief, Top Cop Review ‘Safe Passage’ Plans For Students

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Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, left, and Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett discuss school safety. (CBS)

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, left, and Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett discuss school safety. (CBS)

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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(CBS) — The city’s top cop joined the city’s top school boss Friday to walk the walk and see for themselves the dangers some students might face as they head to their new school next year.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker tracks the route and reports on what officials learned and how they intend on addressing safety concerns of parents.

Lots, vacant buildings, heavy traffic — officials saw it all as they walked the path from Betsy Ross, which is being shuttered under a school-closing plan, to Dulles, where the students will attend next year.

“I do recognize and agree with parents who say we need adults along that passage for our children,” Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said at a news conference with Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

Administrators plan to provide safe passage along the routes from every school that’s closing to every school that’s receiving students, as long as it’s needed. They’ll spend $7 million to staff the routes.

But one Ross grandmother, who didn’t want to give her name, questions if adults alone can protect the kids from gang violence.

“They don’t care who they shoot,” she says. “If police are not out here to walk these kids to school, they’re going to see what’s going to happen.”

Byrd-Bennett suggested it’s not realistic to think a cop can be on every corner.

The city plans to beef up police patrols at all the schools, plus clean up vacant lots and secure or tear down vacant buildings that might attract gangs.

At Dulles, the chairman of the Local School Council is hoping for more parent volunteers to help keep a lid on conflicts between students.

In the next couple of weeks, parents will get a copy of the proposed safe passage route. They’ll get a chance to give their input before any route is finalized.

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