Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gang expert Hagedorn warns federal judge to stop Chicago school closings

John Hagedorn 
A SmallTalk salute goes out to UIC prof John Hagedorn for speaking truth to power during a second day of testimony before a federal judge who's considering a temporary injunction to stop the district from closing dozens of schools, nearly all in the city's mainly black south and west-side communities.

John, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Illinois-Chicago's Great Cities Institute and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, has been researching and writing about Chicago's street gangs from multiple perspectives for decades. He's the author of People & Folks, Gangs, Crime, and the Underclass in a Rustbelt City. This book, published in 1998, re-framed the study of gangs in the United States by focusing on the impact of de-industrialization. He's currently studying why Chicago's homicide rate has not declined like New York City's.

In his 2008 book, A World of Gangs, he writes:
… institutionalized gangs and other armed young men [that] have become permanent fixtures in many ghettos, barrios, and favelas across the globe are an ever present option for marginalized youth. [G]angs are unmistakable signs that all is not well and that millions of people are being left out of the marvels of a globalized economy. 
FOX News reports:
Taking the stand for lawyers opposed to Chicago Public Schools' recent decision to shutter about 50 public elementary schools, John Hagedorn also testified that rival gangs already are posting warnings on Facebook for the incoming children from other neighborhoods to stay off their turf.
"It's already aggravating gang conflicts," he said about the pending closings. And if the closings ahead, added the University of Illinois at Chicago professor, "It is likely a child will be shot and killed."
John told Judge John Lee that it's not a question of whether there will be shooting in neighborhoods kids must walk through. He says shootings are happening now. He adds school closings already are prompting gang Facebook postings warning students to stay away.

"The old times where one gang controlled one neighborhood are gone," he said. "Those changes are what make it especially dangerous to children."

According to the Sun-Times:
Hagedorn displayed gang maps, showing how students would have to cross gang boundaries to get to their new schools and arguing that CPS doesn’t have an effective safety plan in place. For example, he said, children transferred from Pope Elementary to Johnson Elementary in North Lawndale will “literally be walking down a line of fire” on Albany Avenue, where the New Breeds have clashed with rival gangs.
CPS’ “Safe Passage” program, which pays community groups to chaperone children, won’t “protect them from bullets,” he added.
Thanks John.

1 comment:

  1. The government really should keep schools open. The schools are really what makes change in our community happen.


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