Federal officials visit Chicago to talk about school violence

Oct. 8, 2009
Appearance by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder comes after fatal beating of high school student

From The Chicago Sun-Times: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder used Chicago and a graphic video of the beating of a Fenger High School student to call for a "national conversation'' about a "plague'' of teen violence that has infected the country.

ALSO....from The Chicago Tribune: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder came to Chicago to address the issue of youth violence, bringing the weight of their offices but relatively little in the way of funding or a plan to address it. The visit came two weeks after the release of a video capturing the fatal beating of a student who attended Fenger High School on the city's South Side. Holder and Duncan met privately with a handful of Fenger students, parents and school officials.

Earlier....from The Associated Press: Chicago's education reform efforts have replaced failing and low-enrollment schools with charter schools and smaller campuses, but some parents and students contend that the changes also have also led to a surge in violence that has increasingly turned deadly. Before the 2006 school year, an average of 10 to 15 public school students were fatally shot each year. That rose to 24 deadly shootings in the 2006-07 school year, 23 deaths in the 2007-08 school year and 34 deaths last school year. Few deaths have occurred on school grounds, but activists say it's no coincidence that violence spiked after the school closures. "There's a history of violence associated with moving kids from one area to another," says Tio Hardiman, director of the anti-violence organization CeaseFire Illinois. Derrion Albert, 16, an honor roll student at Christian Fenger Academy High School was beaten to death last month when he got caught up in a mob of teens about six blocks from school.

RELATED: Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he had a productive meeting about youth violence with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. (AP)

ALSO: The killing of Derrion Albert has once again caused widespread grief over a seemingly intractable problem of student-related violence. The Chicago district's plans to address the problem will try to identify the most vulnerable students and saturate them with adult attention, including giving each of them a paid job and a local advocate who would be on call for support 24 hours a day. (The New York Times)

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