Fatal Shooting on CPS ‘Safe Passage’ Route
On Saturday, August 10th, Ralph McNeal was fatally shot while walking along the 2900 block of South State Street in Chicago. The day before the shooting occurred, the CPS designated this block would be a ‘Safe Passage’ Route used to bring children from the neighborhood of the closing Williams Prep Academy to their new school, Drake Elementary School, when school begins in less than two weeks.
Opponents of the planned CPS school closings are claiming this tragic event as just one more piece of evidence that the CPS has not sufficiently prepared for the massive transition, which will bring students from 49 closing schools to accepting schools in unfamiliar neighborhoods, in some cases forcing them to cross into different gang territories in order to reach their new schools. Seeing as the CPS only announced the school closures in March of this year, critics say that it is impossible that the CPS has been able to prepare 49 schools and their students to make such a huge transition, not only academically, but geographically, in less than six months.
The CPS responded to parents’ concerns about students’ safety by designing ‘Safe Passage’ Routes that will serve students transitioning to new schools. However, with a shooting taking place on a ‘Safe Passage’ Route, just four blocks away from the accepting school Drake Elementary, parents are more concerned than ever that school closures will not only hurt their students’ academic performance, but may even endanger their safety.
We encourage you to read some of the stories that have come out of the education community concerning this event and the CPS ‘Safe Passage’ Routes, including Mike Klonsky’s ‘ Fake Passage‘ and ‘Trib Reports There’s Still No ‘Safe Passage’ in Place for CPS Kids.’