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Chicago Public Schools may eliminate resource officers

Jan. 2, 2024
Principals have been given a head's up that school board members want to end the presence of city police officers in the schools.

Chicago Public Schools administrators are telling principals to prepare for the possible removal of police officers stationed in school buildings by next fall.

WBEZ Radio reports that district officials recently told principals that school board members don’t support having Chicago police officers in schools.

For the last few years, Local School Councils have had the power to vote whether to keep school resource officers on their campuses. In his successful campaign for mayor, Brandon Johnson declared that armed officers have no place in schools. But upon taking office, Johnson said he was OK with local councils choosing whether to keep officers.

The school board will vote this summer whether to renew the $10.3 million police contract. 

Troy LaRaviere, the head of the Chicago Principals & Administrators Association, said several of his members heard about the plan and told him they are worried about it. He said he understands the school board’s position, but some principals believe it is better to have police in the schools who know their students and have been trained to respond to situations.

Neither the mayor’s spokespeople nor board members responded to questions about the issue.

Proponents of school resource officers say the officers make schools safe from outside threats lead to trusting relationships between officers and students.

Ald. Nicholas Sposato says it's “a terrible idea” to strip local councils of the power to determine what’s best for their schools.

Nearly all of the school board members who approved last year’s $10.3 million school resource office contract have been replaced by Johnson appointees.

For years, social justice advocates and the Chicago Teachers Union have criticized the presence of police officers in schools, pointing to studies that show they lead to the criminalization of student misconduct and contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline. Nationally, schools with predominantly Black and Latino students also are more likely to have school resource officers than schools with mostly white and Asian students, studies show.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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