Feds Award $1.3 million to Chicago Schools to Treat Students Exposed to Violence
Date:  10-19-2016

Traumatized students face obstacles to learning and going to school
From The Chicago Reporter:

As gun violence soars in Chicago, public schools have not been able to devote enough resources to basic counseling assistance — let alone to helping traumatized students.

A new $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will support more mental health services at 10 high schools on the South and West sides of the city, where students are at high risk of exposure to violence. The federal grant — established in the wake of national unrest over police shootings of unarmed black men — also was awarded to school districts in Baltimore and St. Louis. The funding is meant to work in concert with another federal grant that supports cities, including Chicago, that are dealing with the aftermath of the turmoil.

The grant comes at a crucial time for Chicago Public Schools. In the grant application, officials said the district’s mental health services have been “decimated” by budget cuts. In making the case for funding, they also pointed to widespread protests following the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by a police officer, and the slaying of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee by gang members.

“For some kids, they’re walking past traumatic reminders every day at school, or they’re sitting in a classroom where their friend used to be and their friend is dead,” said Colleen Cicchetti, executive director of the Center for Childhood Resilience at Lurie Children’s Hospital, which is partnering with CPS on the grant.

So far this year, 238 children age 16 and under were injured in shootings; 26 died of gun violence, according to the Chicago Tribune. That’s on pace to top last year, when 248 youths in this age group were shot and 27 died. Meanwhile, the district has fewer social workers to help students cope with the deaths of their classmates. Read more here