Fearing the dangers posed by the new routes their kids will be forced to take after the district shutters 54 neighborhood elementary schools, Chicago Public School parents are calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to come to their communities and "walk the walk."
A Tuesday morning protest outside Emanuel's office in City Hall is just one of the several demonstrations against the planned school closings since the district revealed its closure list.
DNAinfo Chicago reports parents and members of organizations like Blocks Together and the Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education called on Emanuel to tread the same path their children will come fall.
"Gangs are going to interact with our children. I don't want to see no child harmed," parent Avanette Temple told ABC Chicago.
Fox Chicago took the walk with several parents in North Lawndale who noted the 12-block-long route their kids will have to navigate to their new school is littered with drugs and crime.
"It's not safe," parent Antoinette Bailey told Fox. "It's a lot of traffic. You gotta worry about shooting. You gotta worry about drugs. I'm not trying to introduce my kids to that."
The Sun-Times noted that while CPS parents has had other supporters joining them in the fight against the school closures, Emanuel has allies of his own stepping up to the plate.
“We cannot allow gang boundaries to dictate education policy,” former ComEd CEO Frank Clark — an Emanuel appointee to "McPier" and Byrd-Bennett’s appointee to the commission that made school-closing recommendations — said of the parents' concerns.
In addition to Emanuel's allies, CPS has been getting support from even larger sources — Wal-Mart among them.
Catalyst Chicago reported in January the Walton Foundation agreed in November to provide the district with a grant for the community engagement process around the “utilization crisis."
According to DNAinfo, the district has since used that money to buy ad space on websites and run YouTube videos discussing the closure plan. While CPS has said the videos are "educational," the Chicago Teachers Union has dismissed the efforts as nothing more than "corporate propaganda."