So far this school year, at least 27 Chicago public school students have been killed, says the Chicago Tribune. That’s one young life every 10 days. Twenty students have been shot to death, matching the highest total since officials began tracking it nine years ago. The Tribune identified seven more students who were beaten, suffocated, or stabbed to death. Last week was especially deadly. A high school student was killed Monday. A few days later, a high school jurnior was shot to death while riding a bus home from school. On Friday, the body of a 14-year old elementary school student was found in an abandoned house.
Each death brings a mix of pain, anger, depression, denial, and fear. Some students talk about nightmares. They worry they might be killed. Some are consumed with guilt about not being nicer to the kids who died. Schools Chief Arne Duncan called the deaths “horrifying.” If 20 students were shot and killed in the wealthy suburbs, the outcry would be deafening and residents and politicians would mobilize for gun control, he contended. “But somehow, because these are inner-city kids from Chicago, people see their lives as less valuable or more expendable,” he said. “Overwhelmingly, these were children doing the right thing, trying to get an education.”