After first day, Mayor optimistic CPS Safe Passage will be successful

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Yesterday the test and today was the grade.

On Monday Chicago Public School students headed back to class for the first time since the massive shut down underperforming or underutilized schools in the city. 12,000 kids found their way to new schools that could lead them through dangerous neighborhoods.

Today the mayor talks for the first time about how safe the streets of Chicago are for those students.

Mayor Emanuel indicates the upwards of $12 million dollars were spent to walk and watch the kids as they go to class is money well spent. He says the program is working.

The program expanded this year with high expectations after teacher layoffs, budget cuts and last fall’s seven day teacher strike. After all that, the mayor needed a home run on opening day. With no incidents to report, Emanuel still appears cautiously optimistic that with the help of fireman, policemen, 600 neon vested workers and plenty of bright signage, the kids will be better off and the criminal have been adequately warned.

“I want our kids to think about their studies not their safety,” Emanuel said.

While he won’t say by how much, the mayor says school attendance was at a near record high Monday. He thinks assistance from the “Safe Passage” program may have had something to do with that. Homicide rates haven’t been this low since 1965 and overall crime is down, too.

While it’s all good news, but not a time, he claims, to become complacent.

A protest is scheduled for Wednesday with some parents planning to pull their kids out of class in order to protest budget cuts, layoffs and more at CPS.

Emanuel says this is a matter for the courts and the kids shouldn’t be sacrificed and used for political purposes.

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