As Chicago prepares to close 54 schools, one of its greatest challenges will be safely maneuvering thousands of students to and from class through the patchwork of rival gang territories that cover large parts of the nation's third-largest city.
The closures are an attempt to rescue an academically and financially failing educational system, and they mean tens of thousands of students will attend new schools in different neighborhoods.
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The district has dedicated about $16 million to expand a program known as Safe Passage that stations adults along key routes to watch over young people and alert police of problems. But some parents, teachers and others fear it may not be enough. They are especially worried about 30,000 students in kindergarten to eighth grade who will be affected.