CHICAGO (AP) - No incidents of trouble have been reported today, the first day of school in Chicago.
Thousands of children whose schools were shut down last spring walked to new ones today under the watchful eye of police officers and newly-hired safety guards. They were there to provide protection as the kids crossed unfamiliar streets -- including some gang boundaries.
Parents and grandparents say they're concerned that today's show of force won't protect the children in the weeks and months to come.
One woman who was waiting with her three children for a bus that would take them to another school ridiculed the Safe Passage program -- in which guards wearing neon vests line Chicago streets. Kathy Miller says it won't be long before the brightly-colored signs announcing the program will be riddled with bullets.
The nation's third-largest school district closed almost 50 schools last spring in the hopes of improving academic performance and saving millions of dollars. About 12,000 of the district's 400,000 students were affected by the closures.
Parents, teachers and community activists have warned that forcing children to pass through some of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods to get to school puts them at risk.