Tuesday, March 17, 2009

CPS chief offers condolences at Simeon

Chicago public schools chief Ron Huberman met with students and staff for about an hour Tuesday at Simeon High School on the South Side, where an American flag remained at half staff days after Simeon freshman Gregory Robinson became the 28th CPS student killed this school year.

Huberman refused to speak to reporters before or after the meeting, but CPS spokeswoman Monique Bond said he offered condolences and listened to students' concerns.

"He wanted an opportunity to talk to students and reassure them that they're safe and hear what they they have to say. This is about them right now," Bond said.

Bond said about 200 Simeon students were planning to take several buses to Springfield to join the Rev. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina to urge lawmakers to pass stricter gun laws. A memorial assembly is scheduled at Simeon for Thursday.

Outside Simeon, parent Emma Bowen said she came to meet with counselors. Her daughter is an 11th grader at the school, and while Bowen believes the school is safe, she worries about violence in the communities.
Bowen, a critical care nurse, said she sees the deadly toll gangs are taking on kids.

"It brings tears to your eyes to see our young people getting killed just like that," Bowen said. "Every day of my life I'm worried. These days they (gangs) they don't care about our babies."

She called on Huberman to reinforce the message that students should watch out for each other. "They need to try to find a little love for one another and not have this hatred," Bowen said. "It's not worth it."

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