Fenger parents meet with school officials

September 30, 2009 8:43:07 PM PDT
Fenger High School students and parents, outraged over the beating death of 16-year-old Derrion Albert, met with school officials and police on Wednesday night.They're trying to deal with Albert's murder and figure out how to address the violence that caused it.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs described the videotaped beating death of Derrion Albert as "chilling and heinous."

Gibbs said President Obama discussed Albert's death during an Oval Office meeting on Wednesday and hinted that the White House is working on tackling gangs and crime. He added it's a mission the president cannot accomplish alone.

"This is going to take community involvement. It's going to take parental involvement. It's going to take the involvement of everyone to address what is obviously a sad and shocking problem,' said Gibbs.

That involvement was evident on Wednesday night at the Sheldon Heights Church of Christ where CPS met with Fenger High School students and their families.

Beforehand, Albert's aunt, surrounded by clergy and CeaseFire members, responded to the national attention surrounding his death.

"It's just unfortunate it that it had to be someone's child. It just happened to be a family member of mine," said Rose Braxton, Albert's great aunt.

"We need some help here. We need some resources here for our children to get them to talk and say why they're angry," said Ameena Matthews, CeaseFire.

Right now, four teens are charged, including a juvenile whose picture was not released.

On Wednesday night, CPS officials and police met with Fenger High School parents. They're searching for long-term solutions.

"Any great school requires an army of parents involved. That's critical. And what I heard from the Fenger community tonight was just that. It was a commitment to be at the table involved in so many ways," said Ron Huberman, CPS CEO.

Students and families say it could be a start and they hope troubled students will listen.

"Why are they there if they don't want to be there? They are causing problems for students who want to be there and students who want to learn," said one student.

"We need to work together as a community to get rid of the violence," said Linda Hawkins, grandmother.

Chicago police are still looking for three more people. Police are working on enhancing photos from the video and they haven't released those pictures yet.


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