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Huberman Fleshes Out Anti-Violence Plan

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Huberman Fleshes Out Anti-Violence Plan

AP/File

There are new details out about Chicago Public Schools’ much-touted plan to address youth violence.

Related: Pursuing a Culture of Calm

Schools chief Ron Huberman’s plan has garnered national attention: The district is targeting 250 specific kids it says are at high risk of being shot. It’s giving them a mentor, a job and lots of social services.

The goal is to cut youth violence and improve learning.

The program is not even off the ground yet—but Huberman revealed yesterday that half the students CPS is targeting are no longer coming to school.

HUBERMAN: What we’re trying to do is find those kids, and re-engage them. Even though they may not physically be in school they are impacting the violence that impacts our school.

Huberman first unveiled his anti-violence plan in September, but he’s offered few details since then. Yesterday he had a slew of updates: He wants to hire local community groups to act as truancy officers and mentor thousands of kids. He says 30 safe passage corridors have been set up to help kids get safely to and from school.

Huberman made his comments at Robeson High School, one of the neediest in the system. It’s one of 38 schools charged with implementing what officials call a “culture of calm.”

HUBERMAN: We’re not looking to add metal detectors. This is about a cultural shift. We are trying to alter culture in our schools in such a way where we won’t need the metal detectors.

Robeson will get a million dollars for additional counselors, another social worker, and programs like anger management to help kids deal with social and emotional issues.

Robeson principal Gerald Morrow said those needs have to be dealt with before academics can advance.

MORROW: As a kid comes in it’s not so much to pat him down physically, but to find out what’s going on with this kid emotionally. Why is he coming in in a situation in which he’s not ready to learn?

Like other schools, Robeson is being asked to figure out new ways to discipline kids. Huberman wants fewer out-of-school suspensions.

The entire, sprawling two-year plan is being paid for with $60 million in stimulus funds. And though it’s barely off the ground, the CEO says the district is already looking for money to keep it going.

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