Meeting focuses on kids' concerns

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Police, village and mental health officials will meet Sunday from 4 to 5 p.m. at Irving Elementary School with children and parents living in southeast Oak Park. Flyers being distributed in the neighborhood say that the purpose of the meeting is to process area children's concerns regarding the recent killing of area resident and UIC professor Peter D'Agostino.

The meeting stems from a conversation southeast Oak Park resident and mother Linda Cheatham had with Cedric Melton of the village's Community Relations Department following a citizen/police meeting at the Oak Park Conservatory July 7.

"It's really just to lessen the anxiety, and to give them the same opportunity we had," said Cheatham. "I want the kids to get empowered. To be able to feel what I felt the majority of adults felt at [the July 7] meeting."

Melton envisions at least two meetings. At the July 24 meeting, which will be facilitated by a child psychologist and a staff member from Oak Park-River Forest Family Services, Chief of Police Rick Tanksley will speak with children in attendance. A survey will also be passed out to gain information on what issues are important to both the kids and their parents. A second more focused meeting will then be scheduled.

"Rather than doing what I think they need, I'd rather do what they want," said Melton.
?#34;Bill Dwyer

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