Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and School Chief Arne Duncan have laid out a $26 million campaign of after-school programs and other measures designed to keep schoolchildren from becoming casualties of gun violence, reports the Chicago Tribune. Some $14.2 million in federal grants will go toward an effort to beef up after-school programs to bolster $12.2 million in local funds. “Our schools have to become safe havens, they have to be the community anchor,” Daley said.
The announcement was made at a high school where an honor student, 16, was fatally shot in May as he rode home from school on a bus. The murder toll of Chicago students made national headlines during last school year, when 32 students were shot, beaten, suffocated, or stabbed to death. Duncan said the campaign will roll out this school year with expanded sports, after-school, and “community school” programs. The goal is to provide a haven for students immediately after school lets out when many are without supervision.