LATINO VOICES

Mass School Closings' Severe Impact On Black, Latino Students

In this Aug. 29, 2013 photo, students walk the halls during an open house for incoming freshman and transfer students at Kens
In this Aug. 29, 2013 photo, students walk the halls during an open house for incoming freshman and transfer students at Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, in Philadelphia. The severity of layoffs and school closings in the Philadelphia School District have made this latest financial crunch unlike any other in recent memory as students get ready to go back to school. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHILADELPHIA— Each morning just before school, Dawn Hawkins and her 13-year-old son Khyrie hold hands, close their eyes and bow their heads.

“Be a shield of protection for my baby,” Hawkins prays over the lanky 8th grader.

Then it’s off to his new school: a 15 minute walk through Strawberry Mansion, one of the most violent neighborhoods in Philadelphia, in the most murderous section of the city. The school is a little less than a mile from home. But it could well be foreign territory.

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