October 7th, 2009
05:00 PM ET
9 years ago

In Chicago, Obama aides tackle teen violence

Youth violence is not a racial or income problem, 'it is an American problem,' said Attorney General Eric Holder.

Youth violence is not a racial or income problem, 'it is an American problem,' said Attorney General Eric Holder.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan met Wednesday with a group of teens who were schoolmates of a Chicago youth brutally beaten to death last month.

"I can't tell you how impressed I am. We had a great conversation," Duncan said at a news conference. "These are kids that are overcoming odds that folks in this room have a hard time even comprehending."

He and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder also met with Chicago's mayor and community leaders to discuss possible remedies for violent crimes involving young people.

The Cabinet members' visit, ordered by President Obama, was prompted by the beating death of Derrion Albert, a 16-year-old honors student. Authorities said Derrion was caught, unwittingly, in the middle of a street fight between two factions of students from Christian Fenger Academy High School on September 24.

The beating was videotaped with a cell phone.

His death was not an isolated incident: More than 30 youths died violently in Chicago last school year.

Full story

Filed under: Arne Duncan • Eric Holder • Obama administration
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Let's get two problems solved here....Gangs and drugs seem to go hand in hand....Eliminate one of those problems completely and we might stand a chance.

    October 7, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  2. oookkkk....


    Some of Obama's people spoke to some Chicago people...and they talked to some kids...
    Ok...You guys are right. He is taking this situation a lot more seriously than he is AFGHANISTAN!

    October 7, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  3. Mike in MN

    Progressive liberal Democrats have been runnig the inner city schools and communities for decades now. If they new how or really cared to fix this, they would have by now. As long as the inner city voters vote for progressive liberal Democrats, things will never get better for them.

    October 7, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. Dave - Independent

    This administration is a joke. If they spent half the amount of time working on our nations issues as they did in press conferences, they may have actually acomplished something by now. Another episode of Obama and Us, the latest reality show. Im not impressed.

    October 7, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. Simmy

    When babies stop having babies, society returns to being a village instead of 'US Four and No More'.......When we ditch the cult of criticism and begin respecting each other – despite idiosyncrasies and foibles, then maybe humanity (human kindness), dignity and self worth will take a seat at the table again.......Peace......

    October 7, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  6. oracle

    I know! Just through more money at it! That'll sure keep the thugs from their favorite after-school beat-down hobbies.

    October 7, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  7. No One Famous

    If BHO wants to be a Chicago community organizer then he shouldn't have resigned. Is this guy such a micromanager that he has to butt into everything and try and fix it. Try focusing on being a leader of the country. Chicago has elected leaders, let them solve their own problems.

    October 7, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. stormerF

    Obama,knows how to fix it just start using brass knuckles and lead pipes,issue them to teachers first,then crossing guards and bus drivers.
    Truly adopt a death sentence for drug dealers and an automatic jail sentence of 25 years for users. Then build work camps where they work to build fences,roads bridges,etc. When we had chain gangs in the south we had less crime,because no one wanted to go back on a chain gang.

    October 7, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  9. Michael Williams

    The problem with the young people today is that they have a hard time trying to find their place in society. The violence is caused by the lack of leadership in the families, schools, and neighborhoods that surround them. If there were more people around that actually cared the gang and drug rate would be at a decreasing percentage. You cannot blame the young people for what happens, occasionally the parents have to step in and play their part as the role model they should be. This problem will continue to rise until the world take snote on how its effecting the future leaders of America.

    October 7, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  10. johnnie w

    What did Bush do , during that last 8 YEARS of his so called Administraion ,and the ANSWER is (NOTHING) . What has the Republican Party done to stop TEEN violence and the ANSWER Is NONE, ZERO. NADA. This is a National problem, and you CNN what have you done about the TEEN violence in CITIES across the NATION, we all know the TRUTH about that one. President Obama will take CARE of it , what will the GOP do? We Americans know the DECISION that will be NOTHING. Eric Holder will pay ATTENTION to what is going on, and do something about it, what are the RIGHT WING going to do, i will tell you (NOTHING) at ALL. but run their Mouth, or by the way the President APPROVAL WENT to 56%. Bush did NOTHING and Chenney along the RNC and GOP NOTHING.

    October 7, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. Vietnam Vet.

    They can send the U.S.Army there it will not make a difference until Parents begin to supervise, direct and give guidence to their childrens to include attention by the many absentee fathers. To many of these parents rely on the Teachers and the Police to raise their children and the minute they do stupid things such as was done recently, They gather for a candlelight march , to find someone to blame when all that is needed is for the parents to look in the mirror and take action which in some cases, they may have waited to late.

    October 7, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. Why now?

    Where have they been? This has been going on forever. What was Obama doing in Chicago as a community organizer? Nothing. Because they really don't care how many blacks kill each other.

    October 7, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. LacrosseMom


    We live in a violent country. Remember McCain's little song,"bomb...bomb.....bomb Iran!" ???

    Let's remember that the NRA is one of the most powerful lobbies in our Nation, and they want GUNS available for ALL! SO...... this is what we get, desperate kids, doing desperate things!

    We have only ourselves to blame for GUNS being accessible on every street corner and alley in our Nation! You don't have to show I.D., you don't have to prove you are a good citizen!


    October 7, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  14. brian

    He couldn't get this done as a community organizer in Chicago. He certainly will not get this done as the president of the USA.

    October 7, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  15. johnnie w

    What are the Republicans going to do about TEEN violence ? Bush did NOTHING the last 8 YEARS, and CNN need to take some CLASSES on these NO RESPECT ,FOX news crowd comments. What have you DONE CNN? President Obama approval just went up to 56% today , lets see if CNN prints that? This a NATIONAL problem, it not just in CHICAGO. These Right Wing Morons , are the most STUPID people in America, they follow Hannity Hate , Beckie Fool, and Billy Pinhead Loon and LIMMBASH. Idiots are the WORD .

    October 7, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  16. drez

    Mr. Duncan's last job was running Chicago's public schools. Great job Arnie!

    October 7, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  17. Viet.Vet

    All that is needed! Parents need to take control of their children providing directions and guidence and to stop relying on Teachers and Policeman to raise their children. You can have a zillion program, training and behavior begans at home.

    October 7, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  18. BILL, WI

    Good effort now how about the administration going one on one with kids in every large city in the country. Hint, start with Detroit.

    October 7, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  19. Jasmine in Germany

    The USA has the highest violent crime rate of any first world country. You don't have to be a genius to figure out why that is (greed, wrong priorities, education deficits, lack of gun control, lack of public health insurance, etc.). The GOP has not been concerned with inner-city crime for decades. I am pleased that the President is bringing attention to this case. Enough is enough! It's not just Chicago, it's everywhere in the US. Bullies should not be allowed to hijack communities.

    October 7, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. Disgusted with excuses

    So what do we do now? Blame the lumber industry for making dangerous weapons? Guns don't kill, trees do.
    I hope that one of these days we'll stop making excuses and address the true root causes. It's not the weapon, whatever it may be.

    October 7, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  21. Cobra Montana

    These are some of the people that were orgainzed by Obama when he was the community orgainzer.

    October 7, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  22. cgillette369

    Duncan the Australian is full of it.
    he was the head of Chicago Public schools and did NOTHING.
    Obama on the basis of Duncan doing a poor job in Chicago promoted him so he could continue his mediocrity nationwide.

    October 7, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  23. FL

    Oboma needs to act like a president and deal with the real problems of the day. Youth violence should be up to the parents and police. Speaking to the olympic committee is not his job. Taking sides in a "racially" motivated police arrest is not his job. The list goes on and on. oboma needs to get his hands on a job description and do some reading. HOW CAN ANYONE HAVE ANY CONFIDENCE IN THIS CLOWN THAT HAS NO IDEA OF WHAT HE SHOULD BE DOING? The people that supported him will bring him down. Half of America never wanted him the rest are beginning to see him for who he really is. I would have never believed the day would come when Opra would represent the American people over-seas. I must have been asleep when she was voted into public office. She thinks she is a politician and oboma thinks he is a celebrity. obomas dog probably thinks it is a cat.

    October 7, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  24. Marissa

    My son teaches as an inner city Charter School in Chicago. You have no idea how bad it is. The school has 4 different gangs and these are 14 year old kids........ They have to walk to the bus through yet another rival gang. They stand their and taunt the kids with guns.

    In Chicago schools the gangs fight for turf on the different floors!

    And Yes this is more serious and important than Afghanastan.

    Frankly we should just pull out and attach the Taliban with drones. The Soviets could not win and either will we........

    October 7, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. Hammerer

    And Obama wants to extend the school year so that children will go to school year round. He said that they are safe in school. Just shows how well he thinks out his statements.

    October 7, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
1 2