The city of Chicago has received 11,000 requests for help getting children to their new schools along safe-passage routes after city officials announced the closure of dozens of schools this summer to save money, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Six-hundred adults will be hired July to work along the routes, which are being established to make sure students from closed schools can get to their new schools safely.
District officials have also pledged to spend millions of dollars to enhance the existing Safe Passage program, which stations adults to stand watch along key routes and alert police of any problems.
Opponents of the school closures report that the closures affect minority neighborhoods disproportionately and will endanger children who may have to cross gang boundaries to get to new schools. School officials agreed to not close any high schools to avoid mixing youths from different neighborhoods. Also, the district consulted maps of gang lines when choosing where to send elementary schools whose schools were closing.
Jadine Chou, Chicago Public Schools’ officer of safety and security, says parents at more than 40 schools receiving students from closed schools have had a chance to see proposed safe routes and have given their input.
The parents, officials say, know the neighborhoods best.