Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Duncan, Holder in Chicago send federal resources to fight youth violence. $500,000 for Fenger community


WASHINGTON--In the wake of a rash of youth murders in Chicago, including the recent beating death of a Fenger High School student, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder--in Chicago with Mayor Daley--pledged more federal resources to combat youth violence.

"Let us remember, much of the violence against Chicago's young
people involves gang violence, unfortunately. We need the help of the
federal government to help break up the gangs in our city, which does
not end at a city limit, and the terror it may bring to communities,
not only a city, but throughout the country," Daley said at a City Hall press conference with Holder and Duncan.

"It is an American problem," said Holder about youth violence in America.
Duncan, a former Chicago public schools chief and Holder met with Fenger students, after being dispatched to the city by President Obama after the murder of Derrion Albert, 16, in Roseland. The beating was captured on a cell phone and the video evidence elevated yet another tragic Chicago youth murder to a national story.

Said Duncan, "Chicago won't be defined by this incident, but rather by our response to it. So I came here today to join with all of you, and with communities across America, for a national conversation on values. It's a conversation that should happen in every city, in every suburb, in every town in America where violence and intolerance
and discrimination exist.

"Chicago is not unique. Four students have been shot in Tulsa,
Oklahoma already this year. Philadelphia, Seattle, Miami, New
Orleans, and many rural communities have also lost schoolchildren to
violence in recent weeks. And the cost goes far beyond the immediate
victims and their families. When children are fearful, they can't
learn. And if they can't learn, then we are all at risk, because our
future depends on the quality of education we give our children.

"This morning, Attorney General Eric Holder and I started the
conversation with Mayor Daley and with faith and community leaders.
We talked with elected officials and school officials. We also met
with Fenger students and parents and the principal. And the students
-- it was amazing -- were united in the request for one thing. They
want mentors. They want more adults in their lives who care about
them. They're extraordinary children at Fenger, and they want us to
meet them more than halfway.

"We plan to go to other cities, and to meet and talk with people
and find ways to protect our children. I am committed to this fight.
I am committed to this cause. I promise to work as long as necessary
to rid our country of this plague," Duncan said.

The Education Department is sending a $500,000 grant to help Fenger and the feeder upper grade and elementary schools safer.

Mayor Daley asked the Department of Justice for more resources to fight youth violence and for more sharing of resources and to provide more funding for police and after school and Saturday programs.

"The needless and brutal violence that continues to take our
children from us is an outrage. Even one child lost to violence is
one too many in our city. I am very thankful that it is also the
outrage of administration leaders in Washington, D.C.," Daley said.

"Every Chicagoan has the responsibility to help prevent and end
the violence. So does every level of government -- local, state and
federal. To help deepen our partnership with Washington, I met this
morning with Attorney General Holder and Secretary Arne Duncan and
community leaders and faith-based leaders. It was a very, very
productive meeting.

"Among the things we talked about, how best to focus our resources
on the young people and the families who need help the most without
sacrificing other priorities; the importance of offering more Saturday
and after-school programs at local schools, where our young people can
learn and take part in other positive activities; how to get more
adults involved with our young people as mentors; and how to more
effectively tell the success stories, and I see the success stories
involving many young people and families who can serve as role models
for their peers in every community of our city.


Mayor Daley is very good at reflecting his responsibilities as Mayor to ensure that all neighbor hoods have the same police protection as the Northside and Bridgeport. I feel that as Mayor he has done a horrible job dispersing and adequately increasing police presence in the war zone South side neighbor hoods. The priority is not the Olympics but rather do the Job you were supposedly elected to do. As as result of all of the failures to this city. CTA's costant abuse of mis management, corruption in City Hall, Mayor Daily should do the right thing and definitly not seek re election.

There we go in Chicago.
Another $500,000 that is going to be wasted on corruption. Go Daley...

$500,000 more dollars to be stolen by our local officials.....


My only problem with this money is that if this young man wasn't killed or if someone didn't happen to have a cell phone camera to tape this event, not too many people would have known about it. Street fights have been around for a long time.
This little piece of money isn't going to help at all. I appreciate the White House visit, but they could have stayed in DC for this one. Bring on the National Guard to patrol these areas.
I took a ride down east 79th Street past Stony Island and it looked like a war zone. Boarded up buildings and nothing but youth hanging on the corners. Bring us some jobs! Give these kids something to do beside hanging out.
Rap music is not the answer, it's part of the problem.
All of these youth have a talent that hasn't been tapped. Please hear what I'm saying!!
I came from Englewood and I turned out OK. Parents, get your kids!!!!

Money - is there anything it can't fix? Spending money sure helped the recession and GM and so on.

Money will surely be the helpful hand here to stop gang violence and thank goodness too, because trying to figure out how to make parents raise their kids properly to respect others, be honest, and work hard is an impossible task. Throwing money at it is the more direct route!

Mentoring Chicago Students

Chicago students have identified the need for mentors as their #1 priority.

Please seriously consider the idea of a column that deals with the desirabilityfeasibility of major federal government sponsored
"Whose Your Daddy Initiative" that would helps the thousands of fatherless Chicago (and students identify,locate and connect with her/his biological father.

Help Me. I read the story re: $500,000 pledged for Fenger High School to fight youth violence/gangs. OK, so, how is this money allocated? Where is the plan? When I say plan, I mean, A. We will do...; B. We will meet...; C. The parent/school/community leaders are... D. Police patrols will occur...; E. Non-traceable telephone number to report gang violence and drug dealing is ...; F. Parental classes are being held every ...; G. Truant officers will knock on doors and man the telephones daily until there is some improvement in ...; H. Free birth control for teens at ...; I. Anything not mentioned above and so on...

For $500,000, we need action. We do not need another Ph.D. to come in, analyze the situation and declare in a 16 page dissertation that Chicago has a gang problem infesting the community. Oh my! Who would've thunk?

$500,000 in funds will not solve the problem. Holder & Duncan will not solve it either. Duncan didn't solve it when was here and had the chance and he will not solve it now.
We always look to someone else to solve problems that fester at home. In Stella Foster's column, Time to Focus, the solutions are touched upon. A reader, J. Besemer Stated " you have missed a major piece of responsibility . . . .no more free passes to parents." Oh boy, want to scare a politician, get them to stand behind this statement. They won't because they will not blame their voters. Even the police superintendant tucked his tail between his legs on CNN last week when asked if the parents should be held repsonsible. His response was " no, I think it's the community." Who makes up the community Mr. Weis? Duh, I think it's the parents.
Another reader, B. Keyes stated that people should stop calling for more police all the time and take responsibility for their own behavior. Whoa!, take responsibility for your own actions, thats sounds like . . . right.
Money can't solve our problems unless we're willing to pay parents to be parents again. You can send a kid to a great school with great teachers but if their parents dont get actively and aggressively inviolved in their kids education and life in general, all the money you throw at them is useless. Yes there are good parents out there that have to fight an uphill battle but there are parents out there who thrive on excuses for not doing a thing but blaming others for their kids bad behavior.

something should have been done a long time ago because children have been killing children for years. Just like the incident at Fenger it is not always gang related.

Let's not forget that hundreds of children attending Fenger High School are there by force, they were not given a choice of schools. they were not allowed to attend the school in their own neighborhood because they did not meet the criteria. You have to wonder about that because that's like saying that education in Chicago is not equal. If education in Chicago was equal for all children these children would not have to be afraid they could go to the school in their neighborhood that is in walking distants.

I guess it is a good thing that someone video taped the street brawl near Fenger where Derrion Albert died, while obviliously participating in a street fight. Because if this had not reach nationwide attention nothing would be done to help just like nothing has been done for all the children that have died in Chicago for decades.

Yes, throw more money at a problem that has consumed billions already. School busing is another great success in the "War on Poverty."

You Americans! The last thing a fish discovers is the water: you're too close to see the obvious answer: your multi-culti perspective rejects sound cultural models for the most defective & unsound. How has your black community been doing for the last ~50 years? Has it been suffering from all the white-on-black crime? Black heroes are found primarily in the Thug NBA, rap "artists", etc. Has there not been enough $billions thrown at this culture yet?

All cultures are not of equal value, if we base our conclusion on their outputs. And what has been Chicago's output? ACORN? A culture of deep corruption? Culture is what makes the difference. Get a new one, Chicago.

The kids want Mentors. Hmmm, that would be a caring mother and a father wouldn't it? You can't buy that.

In any case, I heard the father of one of the killers taking his son's side over the justice system; the son was getting picked on. Hmmm, why does he feel that way?

Because you reap what you sow; treating a class of people (Blacks, Hispanics, etc) as helpless and incapable and thus deserving of food, job and housing support gets you....Surprise! Classes of helpless people that resent being treated as deficient.

It also destroys morals and character. Darrion wasn't killed by the boy blindsiding him with the 2x4, it was others that crushed his skull while he lay helpless, stomping his unprotected head into the pavement.

It will take at least two generations to undo the damage, and throwing money at the situation is exactly the wrong solution. IMHO...

Funny how others cities work on solutions locally and the bigger cities just take from the rest of the nation.

Re: Jack
"Who would've thunk?"
Where did you go to school? Chicago?

No, Mr. Holder, you do NOT need to waste any more of our precious tax dollars to mollify thugs who beat each other up and murder each other.

Throw them in jail where they belong and throw away the key. You, sir, need to be prosecuted for stealing our money and throwing it down the sewer after garbage like this.

Does antbody see a correlation between all the displaced staff dimissed from Fenger under the Turn-Around program institued by Mr. Daley and Mr. Duncan. The best you can do to resolve issues with troubled youth is establish a rapport with them. To bring a full staff of strangers(teachers and staff) is like turning over a jail to the inmates to control. They basically brought in a full staff of less experienced personel to handle kids that they had no experience with.

In my opinion they need to re-think this whole Turn-around school program, after all what do janitors, lunchroom staff and non-teaching positions have to do with the kids grades and test scores. So CPS saved millions by firing all the old staff and get rewarded $500,000.00 for what?

How about some money for a truency program that will keep kids in shcool??? If the kids that perpetrated this heinous crime were in school we would not be discussing this. Even better lets address the teen pregnacy rate we have a lot of 30 year old grand parents and 25 year old parents trying to raise our youth we have babies raising babies or even worse 75 and 80 year old guardians trying to raise our minors>

I get so sick and tired hearing that these kids need after school programs to keep them busy. They have something to do after school and it's call homework!

Mike is right! Half a million dollars will not correct the problem. Parents have abdicated their responsibility for the upbringing of their children. Classroom teachers in public schools around the U.S. have been made scapegoats for problems coming from homes where parents fail to do the job of socializing their children.

Children must be socialized and taught language before eduction can truly begin.

The depth of political corruption is directly correlated to the depth and severity of the problems the city of Chicago faces.

Obama is clueless on what to do so he sends our hard earned money to have his gang of thugs use for themselves. Same-o same-o -- all you who voted for this moron screwed up big time!

Why is it that the federal government always seems to think that if they throw money at a problem, it will just go away? This will NOT make your streets ANY safer, but rather, it will just create a bigger bureaucracy.

I agreed with the previous poster, the feds must stop throwing our money into the hands of corrupt politicians and community organizers.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 7, 2009 11:57 AM.

Duncan, Holder in Chicago on youth violence urged by Brady Campaign to fight illegal guns was the previous entry in this blog.

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