Mayor proposes school safety zone ordinance

June 26, 2013 10:52:05 AM PDT
Anyone caught with a weapon near a Chicago school could face a $1,000 to $5,000 fine and mandatory 30 days in jail under a proposal to create school safety zones.

That's the punishment for first time offenders who are convicted of carrying weapons near school safety zones, which will include safe passage routes, school buildings, school buses and some parks in Chicago.

With each additional offense, the fine and jail time grows. A second offense would carry a fine anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 with three months in jail and a third offense would carry a fine of $10,000 to $20,000 with a mandatory six-month jail term.

"Although the state already has something in place, it gives the Chicago police officers something that's going to hit people's pockets," Chicago Alderman Walter Burnett said. Burnett is sponsoring the ordinance.

"I would suspect that there is a lot of support for it because look you want to be able to keep kids safe we're trying to take an all hands on deck approach with all departments involved when it comes to getting kids home to school and home from school," Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar, 47 th Ward, said.

The NRA is bashing the plan as an announcement that will not achieve anything.

Also on Wednesday, the school board plans to vote on hiring 600 additional safe passage workers. With the closing of 49 Chicago Public Schools, many children will have to cross gang lines as along the route to their new, welcoming schools.

"I don't think that you can accomplish real school safety if at the same time you are laying off counselors, laying off teachers," Jesse Sharkey, Chicago Teachers Union, said.

The Chicago Teachers Union demonstrated outside CPS headquarters despite the rain to protest school-based budget cuts, which they say will result in reduced teaching positions next year. Some students joined them on the picket lines.

Members of the Chicago Teacher's Union are expected to protest outside CPS headquarters during that meeting. They are demonstrating against school-based budget cuts.

"My message is to reconsider these budget cuts and make sure they're not as drastic and not as detrimental to the students and to the parents and teachers," Chris Pieper, Whitney Young student, said.


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