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Gang Concerns Prompt Quick Dismissal Plan At Welcoming School

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CHICAGO (CBS) — It was a major media event this morning when Mayor Rahm Emanuel cut the ribbon on a new multi-million dollar school playground on the city’s South Side.

However, the mayor was mum on that school’s decision–after a series of shootings nearby–to institute a new dismissal plan to ensure students get home safely.

It’s all hands on deck–police, parents and safe passage workers–for the 3:30 p.m. dismissal at Dulles School of Excellence, 6311 S. Calumet Ave.

Dulles is one of the CPS “welcoming schools”–taking students whose school was closed by Chicago Public School administrators last summer.

“Well, there have been some shootings recently in the area, right on the corner of 63rd and King Drive,” said Ald. Willie Cochran. “There’s been another shooting on 62nd Street close by.”

Plus, there was a recent memorial service for a slain gang member, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports.

That prompted concerns about retaliation this week, putting kids in danger as they headed home.

The principal’s response?

The school moved football practice to the mornings.

After school, the kids get out–immediately.

Staff was also advised to not linger.

Most parents have no problem with that plan.

“I don’t think any kid should be on the premises,” a parent of one student said. “If school is over, it’s time to go home. Let’s go. I agree with it wholeheartedly.”

One parent has a different view, however,

“I don’t care who gets mad,” said Versie Reed. “That’s not a good thing.”

“It bothers my kids because they need help with the teachers and they can’t get it right now. Because they have to get off the school grounds.”

Dismissal is expected to return to normal on Monday.

School officials say the gang member’s funeral is Saturday, so concerns about immediate danger should be over.

Football practice will move back to the afternoon, and after-school programs will start, as scheduled, on Oct. 1.

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