By ALLISON MATYUS
The lack of Safe Passage workers at Shoesmith Elementary School was part of the discussion during its local school council (LSC) meeting Wednesday, Nov. 16.
According to school officials, Shoesmith, 1330 E. 50th St., has not had Safe Passage workers for the school for about a year and a half.
“I’m concerned because we don’t have a Safe Passage to help the students walk across the main streets on their way to and from school,” said Camille Hamilton-Doyle, a community representative on the LSC.
According to the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) website Safe Passage is designed to provide safe routes for students while traveling to and from school. Each identified school will have a uniquely tailored strategy, which will take into consideration that school’s community, popular modes of student transportation, arrival and dismissal times, and student residences.
The last time Shoesmith had Safe Passage workers was during the school year of 2014-15 when the school had three on duty. A representative from CPS was at the LSC meeting to address the concerns.
“I hear your voices and I will tell you that the work you all do and because of what I have heard, I will make sure that by Dec. 2, we will have two [Safe Passage workers] be here,” said Gregory Sain, the director of Community Safety and Relations at CPS.
Sain said that CPS will use the Leave No Veteran Behind organization to hire the Safe Passage Workers, which is the same organization that hires Kenwood Academy High School’s, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., Safe Passage workers.
“We have to make sure [the Safe Passage workers] become a nosy neighbor and engage with the children,” Sain said about some of the responsibilities of Safe Passage workers.
Other responsibilities include being very knowledgeable, or preferably a member, of the community they serve, being able to demonstrate a commitment to serving students and being able to demonstrate an ability to build relationships with students and de-escalate conflicts.