Chicago SunTimes | CPS Pushes Alternatives To Police In Schools, But Won’t Yank Them Yet

Months after Chicago’s school board narrowly voted to renew a multi-million dollar contract with Chicago police that left uniformed officers in dozens of high schools, school officials are revealing alternative safety recommendations developed in partnership with community organizations.

The issue of police officers patrolling public schools has been debated for years, with many students of color saying they haven’t felt safe with cops in their schools. Last year’s nationwide social justice protests in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis reignited students’ and advocates’ fight to remove officers from schools. But the Board of Education — urged by CPS leadership and Mayor Lori Lightfoot not to remove cops from all schools — ultimately voted to keep the police contract intact.

CPS CEO Janice Jackson said in a statement Wednesday that the district and community groups “developed an approach that recognizes safety encompasses not only physical safety, but also emotional and relational safety as well.

“Through this process, we can now help schools review their strategies and refine their safety plans in a manner that goes beyond previous efforts,” Jackson said.

The groups made their recommendations after holding 18 meetings attended by more than 670 people citywide.

“Having community input that was centered on youth voices helped create a space for young people to feel heard in this process,” said Donte Hullum, a Simeon High School sophomore and leader with the student group VOYCE, which was prominent in calling for the removal of school officers last year.

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