Gwendolyn Brooks High School students appear targeted by gang of armed robbers

December 5, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Students at Gwendolyn Brooks High School, a magnet school at 250 E. 111 Street, in Chicago's Roseland neighborhood are apparently being targeted.

The Chicago Police Department issued a community alert after a series of robberies of students right after Thanksgiving.

A 16-year-old Gwendolyn Brooks High School student nearly lost his life near the school. His mother says it isn't right her child was robbed at gunpoint.

"He doesn't look like a thug," said Desiree Cummings. "He doesn't look like the type of kid that is capable of defending himself, he's just a kid."

Students say administrators warned them about the need to stay safe in the wake of at least three robberies November 26 and 27.

"That's wrong because their parents are working hard for them to get that stuff, and for them to take it, that's wrong," said student Kenesha Crosley.

In each incident, several male offenders attacked. At least one was armed with a handgun. After taking money and belongings, they fled the scene on foot.

Only 5 percent of the Gwendolyn Brooks student body comes from the impoverished surrounding area. A member of the Local School Council says that, plus the elimination this year of the school uniform policy, has led to increased tension.

"When we all look alike, we're able to concentrate on what's most important, and that's the academics in the building and not the culture or the style or the fashion," said Robert Douglas, Sr.

For a mother who named her son after her brother, who died in street violence 33 years ago, it is time for the community to respond.

"I do want to make an appeal to my community," said Cummings. "You see what's going on, let's get out of denial, let's step up and become accountable for what is going in our neighborhoods."

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