Daley: More police at Chicago schools

$1 million to after school jobs program
October 8, 2009 4:25:53 PM PDT
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley outlined his plan to curb teen violence in Chicago's neighborhoods on Thursday. Among other initiatives, Daley wants more police officers at schools during dismissal times and more after-school program funding.

The announcement comes one day after a youth violence summit in Chicago.

The mayor's plans include dozens of police officers added to patrols around Fenger High School.

A Fenger student, Derrion Albert, was beaten to death several weeks ago triggering a national debate on youth violence.

The mayor held his news conference at the Little Black Pearl, a South Side art and design center known for its highly successful after school program. Daley promised to increase such efforts, to make better use of mentors and role models at schools and to use federal stimulus money to assign more cops to violence prone campuses.

"What we intend to do is re-program a small portion of that money which will allow us to deploy the 44 officers for approximately three hours a day at the most critical time which would be the dismissal time," said Jody Weis, Chicago Police Superintendent.

And the mayor made yet another plea for parents to do more.

"It's called love for your child and some discipline. It's as simple as that," said Daley.

As a parent, the mayor had firsthand experience with youth violence. In 1992, a teenager was seriously injured by a baseball bat during a fight on the mayor's property in Grand Beach, Michigan. Daley's teenaged son, who threw an unauthorized party, was questioned by police but not charged.

"I am deeply distressed over the young man injured in the fight," an emotional Daley told the press in 1992.

The mayor's latest anti-violence program does not include additional money or new parenting classes.

Human relations commissioner and former police superintendent Dana Starks traced the root of the youth violence problem to what does or does not happen in many homes.

"The bottom solution to a lot of this is what is the parent of that child doing to help the child," said Starks.

And Daley was asked what he would say to other parents whose children had committed or had been involved in violent behavior.

"Every child and everyone is going to fall in life, I don't care who you are. You're going to fall, but you better pick them up. Otherwise you'll leave them down and no one wants to leave them down. Pick that child up. It's as simple as that," said Daley.

The mayor spoke said he realized that kids less fortunate than his son are confronted by many more potentially violent situations. A parent, no matter what the economic situation, has to pay attention and, as the mayor said, never give up on the child.


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