So I called bullshit on a Chicagoist rewrite of a CBS story about Safe Passage the other day, and have gotten some interesting comments in response since then -- most of them supportive.
The Chicagoist story was about workers quitting Safe Passage, but of course mentioned the violence issue, too. Both stories are crap, according to me -- hyperbolic, context-less -- though they grab lots of attention and serve both media and CPS opponents' purposes.
Chicago has some extremely dangerous neighborhoods, and people have to live in them and kids have to get to school and home again. It's entirely possible or perhaps even likely that someone is going to get hurt somewhere near one of the yellow signs during 2013-2014.
Some of you -- media included -- seem like you are almost looking forward to it.
Generally, if something happens to a kid or parent on the way to school or home again, I care about that even though it's not a core CPS responsibility. I've gone back and forth over the years about whether non-school violence should be tied to CPS even when it happens off school grounds and school hours.
CPS has gone back and forth about it as well, highlighting it during the Duncan years and then making it harder to connect nonschool incidents with CPS students since then. But I understand that there's legitimate concern about safety and youth violence.
However, when it comes to Safe Passage specifically, I don't really care what happens overnight, or over the weekend, or even during the day while the kids are in school but Safe Passage isn't active.
I don't really care about what happens a few blocks away from a Safe Passage route, either. It's either on the route or it isn't.
Talking or writing about that stuff is just trying to score political points against the Mayor and CPS by folks who many of them are scared and angry about losing jobs and being misunderstood and a shitty economy and all sorts of other things that, again, aren't at heart about kids getting educated.
Or, just as likely, it's some sad/desperate journalist or blogger trying to get his or her story out there.
Last but not least, let's remember that individual incidents count, but overall numbers count more. This is true whether we're talking about workers quitting (what percentage of the total, how does it compare to other similar jobs?) or violence (compared to the total number of kids in Safe Passage, or attending those schools, or compared to last year).