Next fall, Old Town kids at Manierre Elementary might have to walk four blocks to Jenner Elementary Academy of the Arts in River North.
It’s about nine minutes on foot — past the Dominick’s, across Division Street and through Seward Park to their new school.
That might not sound like a big deal — but it is.
In that part of town — where the notoriously gang-infested Cabrini Green towers have been torn down and replaced with an urban farm and an increasing number of condos — warring gangs battle over drug turf and hold long-standing grudges in the slowly gentrifying 'hood.
“We’re dealing with a generational curse,” Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) said. “Some of these kid’s parents were killed by other kid's parents. That’s the real stuff in that neighborhood.”
If Chicago Public School officials follow through with their plan to close Manierre, kids from a section of Old Town controlled by the Black P Stones and Conservative Vice Lords will be forced to cross Division Street into Gangster Disciples turf to attend Jenner.
And that’s a dangerous situation already.
“Kids don’t get along. The ones from Manierre can’t even cross the street. Every time they go over to Seward Park on the Jenner side they get beat up,” Burnett said. “You’ve got grandparents and parents who’ve got all this revenge stuff simmering, and it lives on with the kids.”
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