Chicago to Spend Milions in Stimulus Funds to Fight School Violence - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Chicago to Spend Milions in Stimulus Funds to Fight School Violence

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Chicago is getting ready to spend $25 million on 38 Chicago Public Schools with the most students at risk.

The first $10 million will go to mentor 1,500 students.

The next $10 million will be spent creating what the educators call a "culture of calm" at those 38 high-risk schools.

And $4.7 million is earmarked for a community watch program in and around 13 high schools with gang problems.

In the 2009-2010 school year, 31 Chicago Public School students were killed.

This money is being spent in the hopes of preventing at least some of that violence. The bulk of the effort will target the kids who've been left on the streets to fend for themselves, with predictable results.

"These are the students that are lost," said Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman. "These are the students that have been identified because no adult has engaged them or they've been out on their own."

So how do you reach these kids? People who spend time making the effort say it takes face-to-face intervention at school, in after-school programs, and even on street corners.

More than a hundred faith- and community-based organizations applied to be part of the effort.

Phillip Jackson, Executive Director of the Black Star Project, said this is a great first step.

"One positive person in a room with ten boys, one positive person with 20 boys can sway those 20 boys," said Jackson.

At six pilot high schools where the plans were tested, attendance increased by 6 percent, and behavioral violations dropped a whopping 68 percent.

More than 40,000 students attend the 38 schools that are targeted. The Chicago Board of Education will vote Wednesday morning on which groups will get the funding.

 

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