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Belmont Cragin, Hermosa

After Hermosa Playground Torched, Nixon Elementary Parents Call For Better Lighting, Cameras Near School

Parents and students gathered at the school Friday to call for better safety measures at Nixon following the playground arson.

Parents, students, school officials and community members gathered outside Nixon Elementary Friday following an act of arson that destroyed the school's playground.
Madison Savedra/Block Club Chicago
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HERMOSA— Parents, students, school officials and community members gathered outside Nixon Elementary Friday afternoon to call for more security around the Hermosa school following an act of arson that destroyed the school’s playground.

The crowd assembled at the school, 2121 N. Keeler Ave., and marched around the building shouting, “What do we want? Security. When do we want it? Now!” 

Nixon students and teachers at the rally talked about how fire has impacted the community.

“I just feel sad,” said Henry, a sixth grader. “A lot of moms spent their time building this park.”

The community was devastated after discovering the play area had been set ablaze on the evening of Nov. 6. Parents and community leaders worked for years to get the playground installed in 2018, after a big fundraising push.

Just days after the fire, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) said CPS committed to rebuilding the play area with their funds as well as $100,000 from the ward’s budget.

Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago/Provided
Nixon Elementary’s playground was destroyed in an arson, according to police.

After hearing from parents, Ramirez-Rosa said his office plans to install a camera and more lighting outside the school near the playground in the coming months.

“That was what [Nixon parents] requested, so we’re getting it done,” Ramirez-Rosa said.

Parent Maria Ruiz was involved in the 2018 push to get the playground built, and was happy to hear a camera and better lighting was coming to the school, where she has a sixth grader.

“We need security,” Ruiz said. “When my daughter comes out of school at 5 o’clock it’s dark.”

Maria Torebeo has lived near the school for nearly 20 years, and though her kids no longer attend Nixon, she said it’s important to have CPS listening to parent demands.

The district has already hired an architect for the playground with the goal of rebuilding by next spring, Ramirez-Rosa said.

Credit: Madison Savedra/Block Club Chicago
Credit: Madison Savedra/Block Club Chicago
Parents, students, school officials and community members gathered outside Nixon Elementary Friday following an act of arson that destroyed the school’s playground.

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