Once again, we heard about the senseless killing of another student. This time the killer was found and it was equally sad. Devonte Smith, 15 years old, of the 1100 block of West Washburne Avenue in Chicago, was charged with the fatal shooting of Ruben Ivy. A second student was beaten with a golf club nearby in what police have called gang related incidents. Just six years ago, Ruben Ivy’s older brother Raymond McNight, was killed when the care he was riding in was struck by a car that was being pursued by police. The car ricocheted into a bus.
There was a brazenness to this homicide because it occurred in full view of one of five Chicago Police cameras stationed within a block of the Near West Side campus that is heavily patrolled by police and school administrators at dismissal time, as a number of students watched. According to reports, the killing may have been over a hat. Yes, something so trivial caused the murder.
What is equally unsettling and somewhat shameful is that some 10 to 12 police squad cars are normally in the school’s area at dismissal time. Administrators form a “strong security presence” there when the final bell rings. Many have said that the shooting was shocking because of the high level of security at Crane High School–both in manpower and technology.
Anyway you look at this situation, it is sad because it drives home the fact that our children, especially our inner city children, are at serious risks of being victims of crime or perpetrating crimes themselves at a young age. Our schools have become battlegrounds with weapons such as guns, knives and box cutters as the weapons of choice. It is a sad commentary that this school had such heavy police oversight. In my younger years, a school was certainly not a battleground of such enormous proportions. Yes, you did have fights but not shootings or stabbings. This is, indeed, a travesty and a loss of two lives. We have to take the streets back. We have to take our children back and we have to stop levelling on the blame on the institutions, we must take responsibility for our children. Ivy is the 18th Chicago Public Schools student killed since school started in September.