CPS focuses on summer student safety with first 'Peace Hour'

Sarah Schulte Image
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Students discuss safety
EMBED <>More Videos

CPS students discuss ways to safe this summer during the first "Peace Hour" discussion.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As the school year winds down Chicago Public Schools students are taking some time to talk about staying safe this summer.

On Thursday the district held its first Peace Hour, during which students gathered to discuss ways to stay safe this summer and how they view peacefulness.

A Wells High School teacher and his students are talking about peace. Looking ahead to what may be a violent summer, CPS put together a last minute district wide event called a "Peace Hour."

"What we are trying to do today is remind them about the importance of peace, help them amplify that message, but also help them make better choices and safe when they are not under our roof throughout school year," said CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice Jackson.

In this session students sat around a conference table and they wrote on paper what peace means to them. Then each student freely spoke about ways to achieve it. The students thought the first CPS Peace Hour was helpful.

"Talking things out before they get to an extreme level definitely helps," said Wells High School student Janet Torres.

"Having a discussion like this really gets to open up a lot of eyes. We had mentioned before that we never get to hear what everybody thinks about this subject," said Jimmy Camarcho, student.

"I learned a lot people want peace, but it is hard for them to do it because so many people are influenced by the wrong things, but peace circles help because everyone wants the same thing," said student Sierra Key.

At Mercy Home on the near west side, peace was the subject of a meeting with Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich and other priests.

"Let's not give in to hopelessness. Let's pull together; we are adults; we have resources that we're already using; and maybe we can raise some consciousness as well," said Archbishop Cupich.

Archbishop Cupich says today's meeting was about coordinating the peace and anti-violence efforts among Catholic social service agencies, parishes and schools. He says a united front will be more effective. Meantime, all CPS students were invited to sign a peace pledge today.