Trial by fire for CPS Safe Passage - FOX 32 News Chicago

Trial by fire for CPS Safe Passage

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

It is back to school Monday for Chicago Public School students. However, this year due to school closings, many students will be passing through some dangerous neighborhoods.

Victoria Parker will be walking her daughter Donary to George Leeland Elementary Monday morning along one of the routes designated for Safe Passage. "I'll be walking them to school, so hopefully we'll be safe," said Parker.

She just hopes gangbangers and other trouble makers stay clear. "They don't really care about the police or nothing like that, there's just so much stuff going on, they don't care," Parker added.

In the South Austin neighborhood, at Head Quarters Community Barber Shop, free back to school haircuts were being provided. James Ball is feeling good about how he looks, but less confident about how he will be getting to Dvorak Technical Academy in North Lawndale. "Sometimes my momma drops me off at school, or my daddy," said James.

In response to how he felt about walking and if the safe passage is going to make a difference, James added, "I feel horrible. I don't feel good walking… No."

James' mother Nevada Donnell will be trusting Police, CPS and God. "All I can do is just pray that every morning him and his little brother get there safe and pray that every night they come back home safe," Donnell said. In response to whether the safe passage will actually work, Donnell added that it should because now there's more people on the street instead of just us parents out there.

Last week, the head of CPS offered this assurance. "We really want our kids to understand we will have our workers there, we will have the sister agencies and police there, when our children are coming to and from school," said Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

However, with so many kids having to cross through gang territories and known drug dealing hot spots on their way to school, it's no wonder some parents question how much of a difference the Safe Passage zones will make.

"I want to know what makes them think it's going to be so safe just because they put signs up and people out to monitor the kids, because if it be a shooting, the kids monitoring the kids, they gonna run the kids over getting out of the way," said Jean Buchanan, a concerned aunt.

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