Delores McCain asks Westsiders at the Austin Chamber of Commerce Brunch, Columbus Park Refectory:

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Delores McCain

A series of after-school fights have occurred
outside Michelle Clark High and May
Elementary schools. What would you
suggest to quell after-school violence?

Barbara Lilly (mother of Chamber President Camille Lilly): "Contact Michael Scott of the CPS [Chicago Public Schools], and see if he can be instrumental in starting after-school activitiesâ€"constructive activities for the teenagers so they won't have time to start fights and have gangs. And have parent participation to supervise these activities."

Tyrone Blair (drummer with Howard Sandifer Jazz Trio): "The main thing would be to have more after-school activities where it would be mandatory for our kids to be involved in some kind of activity where there is sports or arts, computer classes, and more music. I think parents should be more involved, knowing what their kids are doing after they get out school. For a lot of parents, I know it's hard because they're working; maybe the kids get out of school before their parents get home. When we were growing up as kids, you would go to some neighbor's house with your friend until your parents came home. But there should always be some type of steady program that will keep the young people occupied."

Gale Lindo (president, Westside Holistic Family Services): "We have an after-school program for youth. It really helps to keep them occupied after school, teach them some values, life skills, homework assistance and have some cultural activities like field trips and things like that. Keep them busy and teach them how to deal with conflictâ€"conflict resolution. It's because they don't know how to deal with conflict that they get into all the fights, and so it's real important that they have activities and people mentoring them."

Glenda Bridges: "I think that one of the things we need to do as adultsâ€"we have to take time, our businesses and our community residents, and try to provide a safe passage for the students. It's not the majority of the students who are fighting. It's only a small amount that are causing the conflict. I think if more of the community businesses and community residents come out during that time frame to make a safe passage for the children, that would also help."

Herman Dandridge: "My suggestion is that the students at Michelle Clark after school be divided up into hours coming out of schoolâ€"have staggered release from school. This way it helps the police department, it helps the teachers, and it helps the students. Some get home a little early and some get home a little later. I suggest that we start with the minor classes earlier, the higher classes later. Also, get some input from the community and our community leaders. Michelle Clark sits right on the border of the expressway. There shouldn't be a real problem there because you must have kids coming from the East, West and the North. We must have some input from the community on how we can stop that."

 

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