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Wadsworth Elementary Beefs Up Security for First Day

By Sam Cholke | August 27, 2013 8:28am
 Wadsworth Elementary combined with Dumas Technical Academy in the Dumas building.
Wadsworth Elementary combined with Dumas Technical Academy in the Dumas building.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke

WOODLAWN — Teachers at Wadsworth Elementary worked through the weekend to get the old Dumas Technical Academy building ready for the merger of the two schools on Monday.

“I didn’t see a lot territorial bickering between the Wadsworth and Dumas students,” said Danice Mosely, an early education teacher at Wadsworth. “I saw kids being kids.”

She said the extra help from the Chicago Public Schools central office helped. Around every corner was another blue-shirted aide there to keep kids from wandering the hallways, she said.

Parents said they were happy with there was so much attention paid Monday to security at the school, 6650 S. Ellis Ave., but some thought it went a little overboard.

“We never had a gang problem here,” said Matt Pratt, motioning toward the four police officers on horseback north of the school.

Uniformed police officers paced in front of the school as Pratt lead home his third- and eighth-grade sons, who didn’t seem to be happy that school was resuming, past Safe Passage volunteers from the neighborhood and city’s Department of Water Management and more police cars.

He said Dumas was more like a large extended family than a school and he hoped the new parents and students could be welcomed into that family as he and other parents got the parent-teacher association restarted for the fall.

Other parents said they were excited to take advantage of the science, technology, engineering and math curriculum now available to their kids.

“I’m actually pretty excited because I heard about STEM schools,” said Jessica Wade, whose son Jaylen just started kindergarten.

Mosely said things were running smoothly so far and the school was able to accommodate the unexpectedly high number of early education pupils on the first day by clearing out an extra classroom to add another full-day class starting Tuesday.