The Kids Who Risk Their Lives Walking to School

October 16, 2013  |  

Parents always worry when their kids walk out the door, but the reality that they won’t come home from school is very real. That’s the case for 13-year-old Khyrie who, NBC reports, prays each day with his mother for his safe return.

Why is his mother so afraid? Because Khyrie’s journey is anything but easy. He takes “a 15 minute walk through Strawberry Mansion, one of the most violent neighborhoods in Philadelphia, in the most murderous section of the city. The school is a little less than a mile from home. But it could well be foreign territory.” He’s just one of hundreds of thousands of students across the country who have to be relocated to schools outside of their neighborhoods as struggling public schools are being shuttered across the country. By and large, the students facing displacement and dangerous journeys are black and Latino. In fact, “in Philadelphia, more than 80 percent of the students affected by the closures are black, though they make up just 58 percent of the public school population.”

Advocates and parents say the displacement of black and Latino children is deliberate and it sends the very clear, very damaging message that those communities are “dead”. The schools that close in Philadelphia and other major cities across the country, are deemed “underutilized, underperforming and by most accounts under-resourced”. Districts shutter them in the hopes of saving money but in most cases, it hasn’t done enough to balance school budgets.

Parents like Khyrie’s mother have started raising money and petitioning school boards to stop cuts. Is your kid’s school in a dangerous neighborhood?

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