As CPS goes on summer break, parents worry about their kids' safety
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Chicago Public Schools are out of the summer.
Tuesday was the last day of classes, and many parents are now worried about keeping their kids safe for the next two months.
For students this year, the freedom of summer is tempered by the reality of the streets.
"We're gonna make plans every day... Never herself,” said parent Britteney McMahon.
At Parkside Elementary on the South Side, students held a Peace March on this last day of school, declaring they want a summer without fear.
"I am hoping that it reached out to some of the gangbangers and drug dealers and gun shooters to put away their things and let our children enjoy their summer,” said school council chairperson Monique Lipscomb.
With nearly 1800 shootings so far this year, a number that will dramatically rise this summer, many Chicago parents are planning to either keep their children locked indoors or send them to live with family outside the city.
"They say they may ship them out of town to stay with their relatives so they would be safe and not have to deal with all the nonsense going on in Chicago,” said CPS principal Cedric Nolen.
At the New Pilgrim Baptist church in West Garfield Park, Reverend Marshall Hatch says they will be expanding their Safe Haven program this summer.
Up to 50 children will get breakfast and lunch, as well as structured activities like movies, playground time and basketball.
"Have someplace where it feels normal, feels safe. The doors open and you don't have to feel unsafe,” Hatch said. "Tragically it does often have the feel of a war zone."
Back at Lawndale Academy, FOX 32 met Latanya Norris picking up her grandchildren. They know all too well how dangerous Chicago’s streets can be.
"These are my grandchildren. They lost their dad to gun violence and we protest on the streets,” Norris said.
She says that will be part of the education they receive that no school can teach.
Chicago Public Schools are scheduled to reopen Tuesday, September 6th. But state funding problems and a threatened teacher's strike could play havoc with that date.