Derrion Albert, Continued


In 2007, after the city recorded 31 murdered children during the school year, Arne Duncan, then-CEO of public schools, expressed similar disappointment.
Duncan, who now serves as President Obama’s secretary of education, said “all hell would break loose” if these killings took place in one of the metro area’s upscale enclaves.
“If that happened to one of Chicago’s wealthiest suburbs — and God forbid it ever did — if it was a child being shot dead every two weeks in Hinsdale or Winnetka or Barrington, do you think the status quo would remain? There’s no way it would,” he said.
[…] Mayor Richard Daley said the numbers appear worse in his city because the public school system considers teenagers students even after they drop out. “The rest of America doesn’t count them. You’re a dropout forever. We don’t think they’re dropouts. They’re students,” he said. He further said Chicago’s problems are no worse than those in any other American city. “It’s all over, the same thing,” he said. “You go to a large city or small city, it’s all over America. It’s not unique to one community or one city.”

Despite Daley’s remarks, CNN has learned that none of the city’s 36 victims this year was a dropout. Also, Daley’s statistics on the number of youths killed in other cities don’t appear to match reports from American cities.

Los Angeles, California, notorious for its gang problems, is larger than Chicago. It has reported only 23 child slayings this school year. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is about half the size of Chicago, but it has witnessed only a ninth of the child slayings: four this school year.

In 2007, Diane Latiker, founder of the community group Kids Off the Block, began a memorial on a vacant lot in Chicago. She bought 30 landscaping stones and wrote the name of a slain school-age child on each of them.

Her hopes were that the stark sight of the memorial would shock the city into action.

Today, the memorial includes 153 stones, some for children as young as 10, and there is little indication the pace is waning, as at least two children were killed since Alex Arellano’s body was found Saturday.

“They come by here and they do this, and they come by here in cars and families come and cry,” Latiker said of the burgeoning memorial.

Asked who was failing the kids — police? schools? city officials? — she replied flatly, “We all are.”

via Minority youngsters dying weekly on Chicago’s streets –

Mayor Daley made two generalized points that kind of disturb me:

  • Other cities have murdered kids too
  • The violent ones are drop outs

I just think the fact that these two points come up with a conversation regarding innocents being murdered is part of the problem. These are two points that sound like accepting a failed community and illustrate the weight big city officials, communities and most importantly children have to bear because of endemic youth violence.