Chicago Public Schools Release "Safe Passage" Routes to Ensure Student Safety

Students will have help walking to newly assigned schools.

Posted: 08/09/2013 11:51 AM EDT

Chicago Public Schools will be releasing their "Safe Passage" routes to ensure that students will be safe when walking to newly assigned schools when school starts in less than a month, according to the Chicago Sun Times

Amid 48 school closings in June, student safety has been a concern as they walk on unfamiliar sidewalks to their new buildings. With the program, 600 newly hired safety workers will be along the routes and nearly 1,800 adult volunteers have signed up to help watch over students walking as well.

Critics of the new routes, including Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, say that the plan is last minute. Alderman Bob Fioretti said one of the routes was flawed, and sent children into areas known for drug dealing. 

But Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said officials aren’t starting this process from scratch. “It’s not a new concept in the city of Chicago for school kids to cross gang lines on their way to school. Kids have been doing it for quite some time even when the schools were open. So this is really something we’ve been doing for a long time, we’ve gotten better at it over time.”

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(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)