Block Club Chicago | CPS Reinvests $3.2 Million Away from Policing to Restorative Justice and Other Alternatives

The decision to respect schools' wishes comes after the district's safety chief initially said two cops would temporarily remain at the high schools that voted to keep only one officer.

 

Two dozen schools voted to remove one school resource officer for this school year.

CHICAGO — The 24 high schools that earlier this summer voted to remove one campus police officer saw their decisions honored on the first day of classes, Chicago Public Schools officials said Monday.

This followed days of confusion on whether an old plan requiring two officers at those schools or a new plan requiring just one would be followed.

Thirty-three local school councils voted over the summer to reduce the presence of police on campus amid a national conversation about policing in schools. A handful voted to eliminate police altogether, but 24 voted to remove just one police officer.

Last week, though, CPS safety and security chief Jadine Chou told the Chicago Board of Education that students at the 24 schools would return to class with two officers still on campus. The officers were expected to stay until a new contract was finalized.

But the schools in question either had one officer on campus to start the school year or they received “special attention” from their police districts in lieu of on-campus officers, CPS confirmed Monday. Chicago Police declined to comment and directed Block Club’s request to CPS.

CPS and CPD are “working together” to follow the schools’ approved safety plans, Chou said in a letter Monday to school administrators and the local school councils that voted on their officers’ futures.

Chicago Police “will be working to staff your school with one” school resource officer effective Monday, Chou wrote. “In the event that there are any staffing gaps, schools without an assigned SRO on Monday will receive special attention from their CPD District.”

Schools that voted to remove one or more officers are expected to receive $65,000-$80,000 per officer toward alternative safety strategies, such as staffers trained in restorative justice or mental health.

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