CHICAGO — Chicago will spend millions of dollars this year on a program that puts guardians on the streets of the city’s more dangerous areas to keep kids safe on their way to and from school.
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The city’s Safe Passage works with an organization called No Veteran Left Behind to arrange for retired or out-of-work military veterans — mostly middle-aged and older — to simply stand on corners and side streets, looking for signs of trouble, in the hours before and after school. For $10 an hour, they monitor the routes that students take.
“They don’t say a lot; they just watch,” says Hyde Park Academy Principal Thomas Trotter. “They don’t get in the way; they just watch. And it’s amazing because in the mornings I come early, and I see those guys there, and it’s almost like they’re there, but they’re not there,” he said. “I think there’s some power in silence.”