ROSCOE VILLAGE — After petitioning Chicago Public Schools to address a lack of security in and around Lane Tech College Prep High School, parents have received the response they've been waiting for: cameras are coming.
Jadine Chou, CPS chief of safety and security, met with Lane's Parent Teacher Student Organization Wednesday night and promised "immediate steps" to increase lighting at the school and add security cameras, which would be tied into CPS' student safety center.
Currently Lane Tech is the only CPS high school without cameras.
"We don't want to wait for something bad to happen before we take action," said Chou, who previously worked for the Chicago Housing Authority.
"We're being proactive and we're starting now."
Though Lane Tech is situated in the relatively safe confines of Roscoe Village and experiences a low number of student infractions, parents became increasingly concerned about security given the construction of two new public facilities adjacent to the school's campus: Kerry Wood Cubs Field and the Clark Park boathouse.
"I think the sports complex makes the need so much higher," said Maureen George, president of the Parent Teacher Student Organization.
Given the size of Lane's campus, Chou said that the new security measures would be implemented in "chunks."
An initial phase of security cameras should be installed by the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, addressing the highest priority locations, she said.
"We're going to have a longer-term effort so we do ultimately get to the coverage we all want for the school," Chous said.
CPS already has begun lighting improvements to the building's exterior.
Leslie Boozer, chief of schools for the North/Northwest Side High School Network, walked the perimeter of Lane following a previous meeting — "I went all the way around in the dark," she said — and identified numerous lights that had burned out.
By Friday, all burned out exterior lights will have been replaced and CPS will determine whether additional illumination is required.
"We definitely have been taking your concerns seriously," Boozer told parents.
"I'm happy. I thought CPS came out and represented themselves well," George said of Chou and Boozer's actions.
"Our little petition created some noise," George said.