CHICAGO (CBS) — Just over a week into the new school year, CBS 2 has discovered some serious problems with the safe passage program, including street corners that are uncovered and, in one case, massive turnover of safe passage workers.
In one case in the Roseland neighborhood, half the safe passage workers quit last week alone.READ MORE: Jensen Elementary Mother Dies From COVID-19 After Daughter Exposed At School
On Tuesday morning, there were no safe passage workers at a designated spot at 119th and State streets.
The safe passage program was set up after the Chicago Public Schools closed nearly 50 schools, forcing hundreds of students to walk a new, and often dangerous route, to a new school this year.
Roseland resident Renee Jones said the workers were there when school first started, but they havenât been there since.
David Weatherall, a safe passage supervisor for American Enterprise, the vendor responsible for that route in Roseland, says thatâs not true.
Although he admits there’s no assigned worker at that corner, but he says floaters cover the area.
When he was asked by CBS 2âs Dorothy Tucker why nobody was at the corner at the assigned time on Tuesday, Weatherall could not provide an explanation.READ MORE: Katrina Pierce Indicted On Charges Of Using Homicide Victims' Identities For False Tax Returns, Fraudulent COVID-19 Stimulus Payments
Keeping every post manned every day is a challenge for the 18 safe passage vendors responsible for assigning the 1,200 workers.
Bob Jackson is a supervisor at Nehemiah Roseland Ceasefire, another group responsible for monitoring safe passage routes.
The agency lost half of its workers when 13 of the 26 quit the day after school started.
âLast week was a very hot week,â he said. âA lot of people have health issues and were not ready to be out in the sun.â
âSome called a half hour before the shift started. some just didn’t return.â
Weather may be one reason.
Supervisors say others find full-time, better paying jobs.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Clear And Quiet Tuesday Night
The organizers realize itâs a job with high turnover, which is why they say they have reserves ready to fill in.