CHICAGO (CBS) — Some parents on the North Side want the city to shut down a television production that includes a scene depicting a sniper shooting near a school.
The untitled FOX pilot, which stars Katie Holmes as FBI agent Hazel Otis, was filming on Tuesday at Seward Park, at the corner of Division and Orleans streets in the old Cabrini Green neighborhood.
According to parents and school administrators, the scene involves a sniper shooting from a nearby residential building at a group of congressman who are playing basketball at the park.
The parents are upset, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, because students at Immacuate Conception St. Joseph (ICSJ) school are in class during production. The school borders the park.
Jenner Elementary School and Walter Payton College Prep are also within about a block of the production.
With the recent school shooting at Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida, along with violent crime in the city, parents fear their children would be frightened by the scene. Some parents emailed the city, asking officials to stop production.
“These kids are subject to this violence on a daily basis in the news.” said parent Jennifer Kotecti. “Why do we have to come and see it simulated in a park where children play every day?”
On Facebook, one parent wrote, “I think it’s not only insensitive based on recent events at other schools, but also the crime/real shootings in our neighborhood.”
Another was outraged that the “City of Chicago would allow the filming of a TV show involving a sniper scene in the immediate vicinity of a school on a school day.”
However, filming was taking place at the park.
The ISCJ administration sent this note to parents on Monday:
We learned late today that a scene for a FOX television pilot will be filmed during most of the day tomorrow at Seward Park on and near the basketball courts. Parents picking up their children at Hill Street today may have noticed vehicles with government and DC license plates which are all a part of the scene that will be filmed.
We also learned that the scene involves an individual depicted as a sniper shooting down onto the basketball courts. We learned that the actor will be positioned on the roof of the residential building located next to the firehouse on Orleans. Please do not be alarmed and please understand that all safety and security measures will be practiced during the day tomorrow while filming is taking place. The off duty officers at our school will be informed in the morning of this information and will monitor the school building and property very diligently.
Please note that traffic on Orleans Street and Hill Street will be heavily congested. As of this evening we were informed that the arrival and dismissal procedures at the Hill Street Campus will not be impacted by the filming. However, if that changes, we will inform families as soon as possible of any revisions to the normal procedures. We understand that this information may be frustrating or concerning and we share your concerns. We will work very hard to maintain normal procedures for students and parents and ask for your patience tomorrow.
Ald. William Burnett came to the school on Tuesday and said he was assured the students were OK.
“You couldn’t hear a gun shot,” he said. “They’re probably going to put the sound effects in later.”
But he’s also not ignoring the parents concerns, saying he will ask the production team to shoot future scenes when the kids aren’t in school.