Parents, teachers ask city to stop violence

October 6, 2009 4:34:16 PM PDT
A coalition of parent and teacher groups demonstrated outside Chicago's City Hall on Tuesday night.They want the school board and the mayor to do more to stop violence like the deadly beating of a Fenger High School student Derrion Albert.

Mayor Daley addressed the issue on Tuesday afternoon.

The mayor says finding solutions to the growing problem of violence involving school kids is a high priority of his also. He is meeting with education secretary Arne Duncan and attorney general Eric Holder on Wednesday. He met with local school and religious leaders on Tuesday.

They are a group of teachers parents and students concerned about Chicago Public Schools. Their agenda includes issues ranging from school closings to finances to violence. They believe the school board's policies could help solve these issues.

"We have a lot of children that basically have PSTD, post traumatic stress disorder, because they're living in violent, crazy places. They do not get the social services, they don't get the therapy to help them manage this," said Karen Lewis, teachers' rights activist.

Most recently they point to the beating death of Fenger High School student Derrion Albert. Some community members have blamed the beating on a long simmering territorial dispute among kids from different neighborhoods and the administration could have solved the problem by sending kids to schools closer to where they live.

Mayor Daley says he's opposed to that idea.

"You cannot allow gang territory to disrupt our city life. If you allow that, you are basically waving the white flag to everybody in the city," said Daley.

The mayor called a high level meeting with administrators, community and religious leaders on Monday to talk about violence. It comes on the eve of another meeting the mayor plans with education secretary Arne Duncan and attorney general Eric Holder on Wednesday. The mayor says he believes federal legislation will help ease the restrictions law enforcement officials have in releasing information about criminal records of students to the schools.

"They should get criminal records, I believe that. They should know that this child has been a victim and that this child has been an offender," said Daley.

The mayor meets with Duncan and Holder in a breakfast meeting on Wednesday morning. They will then get together for a private meeting with students and school leaders.


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