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Chicago to get $25 million in Federal STIMULUS tax dollars to fight “school violence.”

June 25, 2010


I’m all for stopping school violence, but how did stimulus funds and school violence even get into the same sentence?

Federal money will expand the reach of three programs begun last fall

(I smell political kickback.  It is Chicago)

June 22, 2010


By FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter

Mayor Daley today unveiled plans to use $25 million in federal economic stimulus funds to save “lost” students at Chicago Public high schools and expand the reach of three programs aimed at combating school violence.

The cornerstone is a $10 million mentoring program for 1,500 high-risk students at 13 high schools. Currently, 250 students get the special attention.

Mentors drawn from 20 community organizations chosen by a selection committee will begin tracking down troubled students this summer — even if it means going to their homes or showing up in juvenile court, according to Schools CEO Ron Huberman.

They’ll be available to their proteges 24 hours a day to place them in jobs and other “constructive activities,” serve as their advocates in school and in court and line up tutoring and social services.

“These are students who have, almost in every case — no meaningful adult relationship. These are the students [who] are lost. No adult has engaged them, so they’ve been out on their own,” Huberman told a news conference at Hirsch Metropolitan H.S., 7740 S. Ingleside.

“When you … don’t give them adult intervention, and they don’t feel loved, you get the results you would expect. They’re engaging in violence. They’re engaging in activity that is both a danger to themselves and a danger to others. This program is about those kids.”

Daley added, “Nobody can take the place of a concerned, caring adult in a child’s life.”

Another $10 million will be spent to extend what Huberman calls a “culture of calm” at 38 high-risk high schools. Students at those schools will be given instruction on behavioral management, leadership training and conflict resolutions.

Six school have already piloted the “culture of calm” program with tangible results. Students attendance rose by six percent. Behavioral violations plunged by 68 percent. There were 13 percent fewer D’s and F’s. And 31 percent fewer students were shot.

The remaining $4.7 million will launch a previously-announced community watch program in 13 high schools identified by the Chicago Police Department as having high crime and active gang conflicts.

Most of the money will be used to pay 390 community “watchers” hired through 14 community organizations. There will be 20 to 30 monitors per neighborhood assigned to designated safety routes during arrival and dismissal times. They’ll have two-way radios to communicate with police and school officials.

“It’s up to the community to say, ‘This is my school. [These] are my students. This is my community. We’re gonna take ownership.’ This places ownership where it should be — right in the community,” the mayor said.

All three of the programs were initiated last fall after Huberman devised a computer matrix to identify students most likely to be shot.

The programs were expanded after yet another bloodbath of a summer weekend in Chicago that left 10 people dead and nearly 60 wounded.

Daley said he “went over all of the cases” with Police Supt. Jody Weis on Monday and found that “75 percent of the people shot or wounded” had a prior relationship with their offenders.

I’m startin’ a petition:

Bring Blagojevich back.  He was the most honest guy in Chicago.

$25 Million in STIMULUS money to finance a community watch and big brother mentoring program.  $16,000/kid for mentoring.  You’ve got to be kidding.

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