According to reports, the Chicago Board of Education, which oversees Chicago Public Schools (CPS), plans to remove police officers from classrooms starting in the upcoming school year.
“Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th) said that two school system sources have told him that the school board could make the decision as soon as its Jan. 25 meeting, possibly opting not to renew its approximately $10 million contract with the city for police officers,” according to reports.
Sposato remarked, “They told me there won’t be any SROs.”
According to reports, the Chicago Board of Education is attempting to take away the authority Local School Councils—which are composed of parents, educators, and students—have to decide whether or not to assign school resource officers (SROs) to their institutions. According to local broadcaster WBEZ, the board would withdraw all officers from school grounds after removing the decision from local governments.
Sposato declared, “So much for democracy with the decision to get rid of SROs,” adding that it would be a “terrible idea.”
Mark Grishaber, the principal of Taft High School, expressed concerns with the proposed choice, emphasizing that their top priority is safety.
Grishaber claims that surveys indicate that 80–90% of parents, teachers, and students at his school support the presence of police officers in classrooms. Even if he was in favor of SROs, he said, he had been informed that the board had already “made its decision.”
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said during his mayoral campaign that “armed officers have no place in schools in communities already struggling with over-incarceration, criminalization, profiling, and mistrust.” Johnson also denounced the presence of police on school property.
Johnson did, however, consent to Local School Councils holding elections on the issue of police presence in schools after they were chosen.
It is reported that the Chicago Board of Education will decide this summer whether to extend the police contract.
Amid the George Floyd protests, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) pushed for the removal of police officers from schools in 2020.
“These students along with the parents, teachers and staff that support them have looked at the data, experienced the brutality and are calling for police-free schools,” the CTU stated in a statement in June 2020. “Members of the CPS community are calling on the $33 million contract between CPS and CPD to be better used for restorative justice coordinators, social workers, nurses, trauma supports and other critical programs in schools.”
The state-monitoring think tank Illinois Policy Institute stated, “District leaders are taking away that local control, but local school councils already have the power to remove officers.”
“Every CPS school is unique. Local School Council members, including principals, are aware of the conditions and requirements of their schools. The think tank continued, “They are most qualified to assess whether school resource officers are necessary.
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