PPS considers creating Safe Passage Program

One idea being proposed to keep kids safe leaving the school.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 6:42 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2023 at 6:44 PM CST
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PEORIA (25News Now) - The same day Peoria Police arrested the teen who they think fired the shots near Manual High School, the Peoria Public Schools Board of Education is working on a plan make it safer for kids to get to school.

Some Manual students walk home from school.

Following the recent shootings in the area targeting students, the school board is proposing creating a safe passage program.

”Maybe putting adults that are assigned to a specific route to ensure the safety of said child or children,” during Monday’s meeting, School Board Member Gregory Wilson said one solution could be using the increase in school resource officers.

He says with the district seeing 40% chronic absenteeism, safety is probably one of the higher concerns behind this number.

Wilson said, ”Almost like mobile crossing guards on the street that’s ensuring, from here to here, we have adults that are present who are going to be here to nullify any violent acts that occur. Most of these crimes are happening by juveniles on juveniles, so when you see an adult, it hits differently.”

Another consideration is to bring back bus rides for kids who now live within a mile of the school, like those who live in Harrison Homes.

“You have Lincoln Terrace, and Harrison Homes, those are two areas where we can say are kind of high violence areas. There’s really no buses there unless you have an IAP.”

PPS Superintendent Dr. Sharon Kherat’s response was, “The other challenge is having enough drivers to do it with the shortage that’s going on,”

Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria said at least for the next week, police officers would be stationed outside the school.