As educators, we’ve lost students to gun violence and daily face the tragedy of trying to support and help our students and families heal. Join us this Thursday beginning at 5:30 p.m. with parents, educators, elected officials and community groups to call for healing and support for our students and school communities.
Our school communities desperately need more resources and supports for students, schools and communities that have been ravaged by a deadly pandemic and stricken by violence bred by decades of disinvestment and neglect.
We feel the pain, loss and anger in the wake of the horrific mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, last week because we know what it feels like to lose students to gun violence. Last weekend in Chicago alone saw 9 killed and almost 50 wounded. But even those numbers can’t convey the real trauma that violence creates on the ground, in classrooms across the city and our nation as teachers, staff and classmates try to deal with the senseless loss of life of young people.
Attendees at Thursday’s vigil will honor those students lost to violence in this city. We’re calling on Mayor Lightfoot and city leaders to respond to the violence — and use $1.4 billion in unallocated federal COVID relief funds to invest in the staffing, programs and supports that communities need to begin to recover from the pandemic and violence and at last begin to heal.
Those investments can halt all CPS budget cuts proposed for next year and avoid the type of disinvestment that plays such a central role in triggering these cycles of violence. Critical steps to providing safety include social and emotional learning supports, restorative justice programs, more social workers and counselors in every school, assistance for homeless students, expanding rather than closing CTE programs, funding extra-curricular offerings and reopening and expanding mental health clinics.
These investments would begin to make good on the district’s pledge that next year would be a “recovery” year for students, their families and their school communities. Instead, CPS plans to slash $60 million from budgets at more than half of schools, with some schools losing upwards of $900,000 at a time when school communities are crying out for stability and federal funds are at their disposal to address that exact concern.
Join us on Thursday to honor those lost to violence, speak out about our students’ ongoing needs for healing and support, and call on civic leaders to step up and do what’s right by our students.