Chicago Schools Consult Gang Lines in Closure Plan

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Rev. Robin Hood stands in front of an elementary school in what's known as "The Holy City" — the Chicago neighborhood where the notorious Vice Lords street gang got its start decades ago and still one of the city's most dangerous areas. Half a block away, a group of men hang out in front of a store where they sell dope.

"Someone was shot right there last week," the anti-violence activist says, motioning to a corner across the street, in front of a restaurant where bars cover the windows.

While he talks, kids spill out of the school at the end of another day. Most head off on foot in small groups — older students with younger ones — walking home past boarded-up buildings and vacant lots strewn with trash.

As Chicago prepares to close 54 schools in an attempt to rescue an academically and financially failing educational system, one of its greatest challenges will be safely maneuvering thousands of students to and from class through the patchwork of rival gang territories that cover large parts of the nation's third-largest city.



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