Chicago School Violence: Veterans Stand Guard To Ensure Kids Have Safe Passage Home

03/24/2011 03:14 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Chicago neighborhoods and schools are notorious for rampant gang violence. Last year, 700 young people fell prey to gunfire in Chicago, dozens of which lost their lives.

Walking to and from local schools has been likened to a war zone.

To keep students safe, Chicago Public Schools' Safe Passages program has partnered with nonprofit, Leave No Veteran Behind, to supply adults to oversee routes that children walk to and from nearby schools.

NPR reports schools are paying unemployed veterans to stand guard on street corners and other areas students pass by to keep an eye out for violence and make students feel safer in their neighborhoods.

Veteran Bernard Cooks told NPR,

"We're here faithfully; we've been here since day one. Our intention is to be here until the last day so kids can figure out that, 'Hey, there's somebody that actually cares about our safety,' and they can feel confident going up and down these streets."


Supporters can learn more about Chicago's Safe Passages program or make a donation to support the Leave No Veteran Behind organization.