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Despite recent tragic events near some of the designated Safe Passage routes, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is confident the controversial program allows Chicago Public Schools students to “think of their studies and not their safety.”
Do not be fooled, children. There are still plenty of hidden dangers awaiting you.
The following categories are addressed on the CPS website. Kids, this safety lesson will be your first of the year.
- Walking to school
Chicago boasts multi-lane streets with heavy traffic that may be difficult for children to cross. These streets, especially those with enigmatic six-way intersections, also prove difficult for adults to drive while texting, hipsters to bike, and 24-year-olds balancing Venti White Mochas and lululemon bags sporting the phrase, “Do something that scares you every day” just plain hard to walk.
If “something that scares you” is crossing against three lights simultaneously, skip a plastic bag’s advice, kids.
- Riding the Bus
Avoiding the dangers of walking? “Riding the bus has its own hazards,” advises the official Safe Passage guidelines. Exposure to public drunkenness, getting groped by a stranger and being shouted at in bible verse (See: “Bicycle Safety”) are just a few hazards you may expect on your bus commute. Now imagine what must happen on the public school bus.
- Driving Children to School
Little ladies and gentlemen, you are getting to be so big. Young adults, even. But you’re years away from backing your own car out of the driveway as your parents watch in horror. So consider it a blessing that your mom loves you enough to give you a ride to school, complete with a kiss on the face. Too cool for hugs and kisses? Thanks to Safe Passage, you can have mom drop you a block away from that love-starved bully’s judgmental glare– safely.
- Bicycle Safety
There are certain types of people who ride bikes in the City of Chicago: hipsters who can’t afford cars, hipsters who can afford cars but can’t afford guilt, newly athletic early-30s professionals perpetually “training for the tri,” and a slew of helmet-clad seven-year-olds photographed on Facebook. Young scholars, if you think you can compete on the road and/or sidewalk with all of that going on, God bless. (No, I’m not riding your bus, it’s just an expression).
- Special Situations
CPS accounts for basically everything else in this catchall category. They wisely advise, “Some situations arise that you sometimes can and can’t plan for.” Good call, CPS. These special situations that may or may not make for a risky commute include, but are not limited to:
- A Blackhawks riot
- A Cubs riot
- A Bears riot
- A bears riot
- A Chicago Fire riot
- A Chicago fire
- Chicago Fire filming
- Presidential motorcade
- Mayor Emanuel taking your seat on the Brown line
- A Schaumburg resident who will stand only in the doorway of the train because he “doesn’t know what goes on in that middle”
- A 24-year-old with a lululemon bag crying on the sidewalk in Wrigleyville because “Why did Brad leave me?”
Have a safe and happy year! Hope “doing something that scares you every day” isn’t getting to school.
Natalie Shipman is an alum of The Second City Touring Company and ComedySportz Chicago. She currently writes, acts, teaches improv and performs stand-up around the city. Follow her on Twitter: @natalinasp.