27 CPS students killed this school year

March 12, 2009 5:58:56 PM PDT
Chicago's police superintendent and the head of Chicago Public Schools met on Thursday to discuss violence on city streets. Twenty seven students have been killed so far this year, more than last year with three more months of classes still ahead.

A 17-year-old student from Roosevelt High School was shot and killed Tuesday night in the city's Albany Park neighborhood.

School officials, police, parents and community groups, they're all looking for ways to ends the violence.

The meeting between Chicago's superintendent Jody Weis and Ron Huberman lasted for about an hour. What came out of the meeting is still unclear as Huberman refused to talk to reporters and Weis ducked out of a side door. What they will not be able to avoid is calls from the community to keep their kids safe.

Chicago Superintendent Jody Weis arrived at headquarters to meet with school officials to talk about the rising tide of violence that continues to claim the lives of students.

"It's time to sit down and see what things that we can do collectively, C.P.S. and C.P.D., and hopefully reach out to the community to see what we can do to make it safer on the streets for our kids," said Tio Hardiman, CeaseFire.

It is believed Weis called for the meeting with Ron Huberman. The brain-storming session comes as the number of district students killed by violence during this school year surpasses the total number of students killed last year. The number now stands at 27. Roosevelt High School student Franco Avila became the most recent C.P.S. student to fall prey to gun violence.

"What it's coming down to, a lot of dysfunctional families, people believe that violence is acceptable and okay. Violence shouldn't be the norm in the community. And then young men and women will start thinking that way," said Phillip Jackson, Black Star Foundation.

Since last year police and school officials have cracked down on the violence by aggressively enforcing curfews and beefing up patrols. Despite that, some say that that approach does nothing to address the root problem.

"Nobody is getting the outcomes that they need because they did not come to together to align their resources, their talent, their personnel, their philosophies around this one issue," said Jackson.

Activist Shina London not only wants a community coalition, but wants parents responsible for the violent action.

"The schools cannot do it alone, the police cannot do it alone, the churches cannot do it alone. The foundation begins at home.

To that end, many groups are continuing to form coalitions. The League of Parents are hoping to plan a rally this weekend to get parents to come out and support the effort to keep kids in Chicago Public Schools safe.

According to Ron Huberman's office, Huberman and Weis talked about ways to exchange intelligence between schools and CPD. Information that CPS may have regarding conflicts will be helpful for CPD to know about, and vice versa. Huberman also touched on the "mapping" concept that would focus on boundaries and transportation routes that have been identified as potential zones where gang conflicts could impact school boundaries. This concept is being developed to include other focused safety and security metrics that will be fine tuned within the coming months. It was an informal exchange of dialogue, but many ideas were discussed that have potential to make a significant impact.