Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is partnering with Sky-Rocketing Teens Corp to host “Put the Guns Down,” a campaign featuring rallies at six elementary and high schools to promote summer safety, including Harper, Bowen, Prosser, Gage Park, Uplift, and Douglass.
The “Put the Guns Down” tour, which began in May and continued through June, is fostered by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Summer of Faith and Action initiative to reduce gun violence in the City of Chicago. Jesse Ruiz, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools is participating in the Padres Angeles Little Village Peace Walk.
“Keeping our children safe is not just a problem for certain communities. Every child is a child of Chicago so we all have a role and we all share a responsibility to keeping our children safe,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Anything that stunts the hopes and opportunities of thousands of young Chicagoans undermines our city’s future. The City of Chicago must continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to provide safe, engaging opportunities for our children this summer and throughout the year.”
“CPS is committed to a summer of safety for all of our students,” Ruiz said. “We share a responsibility to keep our children safe, and it is through coordinated city efforts like the Safe Haven program and the Faith and Action initiative that we can provide students with programming that will keep them engaged during summer months so that they return ready to learn this fall.”
The motivational pep rallies promoted an anti-violence message through the use of entertainment and a discussion about gun violence statistics. Founded in 2010 by 15-year-old Ja’Mal Green and his history teacher, Pete Retsos, Sky-Rocketing Teens Corp has visited over 140 schools and reached more than 100,000 students with its Stop the Bullying and Stop the Violence programs.
“The importance of the ‘Put the Guns Down’ tour is not only to try and reduce gun violence for the summer, but to also provide opportunities for the youth to achieve their dreams,” Green said. “We believe if teens are doing something productive that saves them from the streets and it could save their lives.”
For more information about the 2015 Safe Haven summer program, call the CPS Office of Faith-Based Initiatives at (773)553-2500. Additional information about the Summer of Faith and Action is available at (312)744-1718. Parents and students can find additional summer activities to participate in both in person and online at www.chicagocityoflearning.org
Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.