– Mayor Emanuel joined Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) at a back-to-school rally today to announce three new schools will offer Safe Passage routes this year. Beginning this fall, Deneen Elementary School, O'Keeffe Elementary School and Pickard Elementary School will join the Safe Passage program – the city’s collaborative effort that has proven to reduce crime and keep students safe during their daily commutes to and from school. This fall, Safe Passage will serve 76,000 students at 160 schools throughout the city – nearly five times the number of schools served in 2012.
In addition to protecting students, Safe Passage has also been shown to increase attendance at CPS schools. As the district expands the successful Safe Passage program, new data from the 2017-18 school year shows that attendance climbed from 92.8 during the 2016-17 school year to a near record high of 93.3 percent this past year. The 2017-18 rate nearly reaches the district record 93.4 percent rate achieved by students in 2015-16.
“Our responsibility to Chicago’s children does not end when the bell goes off at the end of the day or the end of the year,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We are expanding Safe Passage routes to serve more children, schools and neighborhoods because every child should be able to go to and from school focused on their studies, not their safety.”
Today’s rally kicked-off the new school year by celebrating the tireless dedication of more than 1,300 Safe Passage personnel and 20 community-based organizations who work to ensure that close to 80,000 CPS students are able to travel safely to and from school every single day. According to CPD crime statistics, crime along Safe Passage routes declined by 9 percent in the past year.
“Academic excellence in the classroom begins with a safe journey to and from school – this proven model allows our students to focus on their studies instead of their safety,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “Thanks to the dedicated community members who put on a Safe Passage vest every morning to ensure students make it safely to school each day, we can look forward to another safe and successful school year.”
With the support of Mayor Emanuel, the Safe Passage Program has expanded and thrived by utilizing a community-based model to promote successful outcomes. Safe Passage employs workers who live in the communities they serve, allowing them to understand community dynamics and leverage their positive relationships with students and families.
To ensure that potential situations are handled strategically and cautiously, the District’s Safety and Security team trains workers on how to manage different scenarios by using an array of de-escalation and conflict resolution strategies. To date, there have been no serious incidents involving a student during operational hours while Safe Passage workers are present.
“Each and every school day, dedicated Safe Passage workers help to ensure children across Chicago get to and from the classroom in the safest manner possible,” said CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “They are a vital part of our public safety plan and a true partner to the CPD.”
Additional information on the Safe Passage program, including route maps for all 160 schools, is available at www.cps.edu/safepassage.
Safe Passage by the Numbers:
Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.
- 160 Safe Passage schools
- 1,350 Safe Passage workers
- Close to 80,000 CPS students served
- 20 partnerships with community-based organizations
- 9 percent reduction in crime on Safe Passage routes since the 2016-17 school year
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