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Police escort students to school after murder

March 24, 2008 4:01:01 PM PDT
Students returning from spring break Monday got police escorts to Crane High School.

This comes after a student was killed in a gang-related shooting two weeks ago. Police are hoping to avert any retaliation which could put other students at harm.

The plan is called Operation: Safe Passage and it's a plan that involves several members of the community which all came together to make sure that students who live in ABLA Homes got to Crane High School safely. This plan calls for extra protection and peace of mind for these students, some of whom haven't gone to classes because of fears of gang violence.

Spring break is over and Chicago Public Schools are back in session. Students who live in the ABLA Homes were headed to Crane High School Monday morning escorted by parents, politicians and police.

The extra protection is in response the murder of Crane student Ruben Ivy. He was gunned down in front of the school March 7. Devonte Smith, 15, is being charged as an adult for Ivy's murder. He lived in ABLA and Ivy lived in rival gang territory. Since the shooting, many students who lived in ABLA also live in fear of gang retaliation and stayed home from school.

"They didn't want to be there at all. So we're getting them motivated and we get more and more every day. And we escort them to the bus stop to the school from the bus stop back to the community," said Michelle Darby, volunteer.

Since the shooting, the community created Operation: Safe Passage, a plan to make sure students are protected to and from school. Monday morning, students were escorted to a bus stop near their homes and that bus was trailed by Chicago Police who stayed and watched as students entered the building.

"It's important that our kids get to school, they stay in school, and learn the educational opportunities that we have available for them," said Ald. Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward.

For some students, this is the first day back to school since the shooting, although some continued to go even though they admitted they were nervous.

"I talked to my grandfather. He taught me how to stay out of trouble and come home like I'm supposed to and stuff," said JC Hamler, student.

Crane officials say Operation: Safe Passage was a success and they plan to escort the students every day this week.


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