Chicago Board of Education Unanimously Votes to Remove Police Officers from CPS Schools

Chicago Board of Education Unanimously Votes to Remove Police Officers from Chicago Public Schools | Future Education Magazine


Source- wbez

In a historic move, the Chicago Board of Education has voted unanimously to remove police officers from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) beginning next school year. The decision comes as part of a broader effort to redirect funds currently allocated for school resource officers (SROs) toward more comprehensive wraparound support services for students.

Board of Education President Jiannan Shi emphasized the significance of investing in schools and empowering them to decide how to utilize the redirected funds. This shift represents a departure from the previous model, where SROs were a fixture in many Chicago Public Schools.

24th Ward Alderman Monique Scott echoed the sentiment, stating, “When you make decisions that affect everyone, decisions have to be made specifically for that particular school.” The decision is seen as a step towards tailoring support services to the unique needs of each school.

The move has garnered support from many students who have long criticized the presence of SROs, deeming them costly, ineffective, and contributing to an atmosphere of unease. D’Andre Robinson, a Chicago Public Schools student, highlighted the importance of speaking up on behalf of the youth, expressing concerns about the impact of police presence on students’ sense of safety.

Voices and Concerns: Diverse Reactions Emerge as Chicago Public Schools Contemplate SRO Removal

“We really need those funds so that Hyde Park can be a better place, other schools can be a better place,” added CPS student Makayla Acevedo. She emphasized the need for resources within schools, eliminating the necessity for students to seek external support for their educational goals.

Currently, 39 high schools within the Chicago Public Schools system have police officers on campus. However, the decision to remove them is not uniform across all school communities. Some, like Michelle Clark Magnet School in the Austin neighborhood, have opted to retain SROs. Supporters argue that having officers in schools helps rebuild trust between Black and Brown communities and the police.

Alderman Scott expressed concerns about the potential repercussions of the decision, particularly in West Side schools that she believes already lack essential support services. The worry is centered on the absence of police presence exacerbating existing challenges, such as youth violence.

CPS CEO Pedro Martinez acknowledged the magnitude of the change, stating, “It’s a big shift, it’s a big change, and I don’t want to minimize it, and it is something that we’re going to have to work together to help our parents understand, help our staff understand.”

Chicago Public Schools Redirect Funds from SROs to Support Comprehensive Student Well-being

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) welcomed the decision, aligning it with the long-standing efforts of Black and brown youth organizers who have advocated for the removal of SROs through campaigns like CopsOutCPS.

In response to the decision, CPS released a statement highlighting the suspension of payments to the Chicago Police Department for SROs since Fiscal Year 2020. The statement indicated that the funds allocated for the SRO program, approximately $10 million annually, would be repurposed to enhance social-emotional learning, behavioral health supports, and additional resources for students.

The move marks a significant step in redefining the role of law enforcement in educational environments, signaling a commitment to prioritize comprehensive support services tailored to the unique needs of each school within the Chicago Public Schools system.

Also Read: Most of the Chicago Board of Education has been replaced by Mayor Brandon Johnson

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