After a number of crimes against children as they traveled to or from school, D.C. is giving out signs that businesses can post to show that kids can take refuge there.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the Safe Spots for Students initiative on Friday. Ward 8 businesses, churches and nonprofits that participate will get a Safe Spot sign to put in a window.
The Safe Spot signs show that groups are "opening their doors to students who are feeling unsafe and offering an opportunity to call a friend, family, or law enforcement," a statement from the mayor's office said.
The signs initially will go up in 23 locations in Ward 8. An expansion is planned.
Before students can succeed, they need to simply be able to get to school safely, Bowser said.
"We know that when our young people feel safe getting to and from school, they’re more likely to be in school every day, on time," she said in the statement.
In addition to the Safe Spots sign initiative, the city says it will launch a carpool, "walk pool" and "bike pool" system; start use of a safety app and conduct a study of students' travel to and from school. Go here to learn more about the city's Safe Passage plans.
In May 2018, two teenage boys were killed after they left school. Sixteen-year-old Tyshon Perry was stabbed at a Metro station after a dispute at school earlier that day. Later that month, 15-year-old Jaylyn Wheeler was shot.
Many D.C. students are afraid to go to school, at-large Council Member David Grosso said last month. He proposed the creation of a free shuttle service that would take students from Metro stations to school and back. It would cost millions but be worth it, he said.
"This is a $12 billion dollar budget. I don't see why we can't carve some of that money out to make sure that students are safe on their way to and from school," he said.