CHICAGO, June 22, 2020—The Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement today in response to Chicago Public Schools’ continued refusal to address concerns over policing in the city’s public schools:
Young Black organizers throughout our city—and country—are transforming the nation with uprisings against police brutality and cries to remove municipal police departments from their school buildings. Chicago Public Schools, however, controlled by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, continues to exclude those voices, even as cities across the U.S., including Minneapolis, Portland, Denver, Seattle and Oakland, have decided to remove police from their schools.
Black and Brown youth are transforming our society, yet CPS refuses to do so in a district that is more than 80 percent Black and Brown youth.
On June 5, the mayor flatly rejected the idea of removing police from CPS. Last week, she stated it was the authority of Local School Councils to “determine for themselves whether or not they want any CPD presence in their schools.”
Let’s separate facts from fiction.
Fact: LSCs cannot cancel the contract with CPS and the Chicago Police Department—only CPS or CPD can do so.
Fact: LSCs do not have the discretion to shift funds for school resource officers to other needs such as social workers or counselors. It’s either take the policing, or receive nothing at all.
Fact: Chicago needs an elected representative school board.
All of the mayor’s committees and task forces on issues such as SQRP ratings and student-based budgeting have kept the status quo or made imperceptible changes to failed policies (i.e., no real change at all). It is time for City Hall and CPS to listen to real stakeholders—the youth of our city—and propose real solutions to real problems, and time for the mayor to honor her pledge to replace police in schools with restorative justice, trauma supports and other critical student needs.