In response to 37 student shootings in the past school year, Chicago Public Schools have identified 1,200 high school students most likely to get shot and set up a $30 million program to keep them out of trouble, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. In the last five years, high school shooting victims have tended to be “black males, homeless, special education students and students at alternative schools,” says Ron Huberman, the district CEO.
Such kids also tended to be at least two credits behind in high school, to have been absent for more than 40 percent of the school year and to have committed nearly one serious school violation per school year.
Potential shooting victims will be matched with “advocates” and social workers “who will work with the students, their families, their schools and their communities in pinpointing and addressing their problems,” Huberman said. All will be offered paid jobs to keep them busy.
These are kids with serious behavioral and academic problems. They cut school more than 40 percent of the time! It seems odd to frame the problem in terms of violence. A few will be shooters and a few will be shot, but all of these kids — and their friends who cut “only” 20 percent of the time — are doomed to failure. If they can be helped by social workers and counselors, they need that help to start in kindergarten and first grade.
I also have problems with giving paid jobs to chronic truants. What does that say to the kids who show up every day? No bribes for you unless you commit “one serious school violation” per year.