Lisa (paganmaid_2) wrote,

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Taking back the streets - and schools

By now you may have heard about the Chicago high school honor student who was beaten to death as he was walking home from school. He was on his way home when he happened upon two groups of men fighting. Some said he saw someone he knew and went to help him, only to have both groups jump on him and beat him with boards. A passerby, walking his sister home, caught the action with his cell phone and turned over the tape to a local news station, which then turned it over to Chicago police. Using the film, police have caught four men and charged them with murder. Three others were still being sought.

In Chicago, this is no new thing. Last year over thirty Chicago Public School students - all on the South Side - have lost their lives to violence. Each time a shooting, stabbing, beating or whatever happens, parents and community leaders will howl before the cameras, police will mop up the mess and try to find the person(s) responsible and once the heat is off, life will return to normal.

What's striking is that the violence doesn't happen in the schools, or the so-called "School Safety Zones" around the school, but usually a few blocks away. This incident happened outside a community center a few blocks away from the high school. Tensions will cook inside the school for hours or days. Then word gets around the grapevine that something will happen after school, and next thing you know we'll be watching the news about a kid getting shot as he's walking home, or to the bus stop.

All the victims were male, and black. Still, it scares kids of all ages, sexes and color in high schools around Chicago.

when I was a kid going to the CPS, I was bullied regularly. Kids would threaten to kick my ass after school. It won't happen in school, where there are authority figures and later, police and security guarding the hallways. It's always outside. I'd have to run home or walk with people I knew and trusted. Sometimes they would follow me and wait until I was alone. Once I was even kidnapped and walked several blocks away, being beaten, crying and screaming until an adult intervened and my attackers ran off. I walked home slowly, crying hysterically. The teachers wouldn't intervene, saying it wasn't in their job description. Today they would be fired if they said that and someone was killed.

It's not that different today, just more violent. If it happened on the North Side and in an affluent neighborhood to a white kid, the outcry would be huge. Police presence would triple. In fact, at Lake View High School near where I live, there is always a squad car parked outside during school hours. There would be a national outcry. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck would accuse president Obama of doing nothing when it was happening in his home town. But it's happening on the South Side, where it's routinely ignored by Mayor Daley and the police. After a kid gets shot, there would be attention until the heat is off and it's back to business as usual.

Parents and community leaders have to get involved. I was reading a biography on Michelle Obama and when she was growing up on the South Side, trailer classrooms were used in schools to ease overcrowding. There was no heat and students would have to wear their coats. Complaints went nowhere until a massive boycott of the schools forced the system to do something. And this is what parents could do to make the schools safer so that their kids wouldn't be afraid to go there and come home.

Boycotts work - just ask Jesse Jackson. He staged them to gain benefits for hos followers, as well as his sons.

It worked for a state senator last year. He bused several schoolkids to an affluent North Shore suburb so that they could register for school. They filled out the forms, but were rejected because they lived outside the district. The boycotts were organized to call attention to inequities in school funding, and the senator was thinking of challenging rod Blagojevich for the Democratic nomination. It worked - for a short time. Blagojevich talked the senator into calling off the boycott and he would take care of the funding issue. But either he forgot or it got tossed onto the back burner, and after Blagojevich's arrest, the state senator got his revenge - by voting him out.

It could work on the South Side, if parents and community leaders would do the job. And there's no better time than now. Boycott the public schools. Take your kids out and find a better school, or homeschool the kids. It would take time and money, but ask yourself this - would you rather pay attention to teh kids' needs, or would you rather pick out their coffin? Because that's what will happen if they let this latest violent deed go by the wayside.

It works because the schools lose money whenever there are no kids there. Daley would have to take notice and eventually arrange for more police presence in and around the schools and the neighborhoods. So what will it be - boycott now or a future without your kid?
Tags: schools, violence against children
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