Chicago board votes to remove city police from its high schools

Feb. 23, 2024
Critics of the presence of police in schools say it leads to a school-to-prison pipeline for many students.

The Chicago school board has voted to remove dozens of uniformed police officers from 39 high schools.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the resolution approved by the board calls for ending the school resource officer program by the start of next school year and instead create a policy that focuses on a holistic approach to student safety and "addresses root causes and contributing factors" for disparities in student discipline.

“The district will continue its strong partnership with the mayor’s office and the Chicago Police Department, which have always, and will continue to, provide critical support for all of our schools,” the resolution said.

In place of the services provided by resource offices, the district will develop a new Whole School Safety Framework that will establish best practices for school safety.

Some students have protested for years against the police presence in schools, citing data analysis that found a disparate policing of Black children and kids with disabilities and research that shows the harmful effects of pushing students into the criminal justice system.

Sixteen city high schools have two resource officers this year, and another 23 schools have one. The rest, more than half of the city's 91 district-run high schools, no longer have any police. And there are no uniformed officers in elementary schools.

Critics of the removal of all officers wanted the district to keep the decisions in the hands of individual Local School Councils as they have been the past three years. Many have said school communities should be able to decide what makes them feel safe, and that a one-size-fits-all approach isn't appropriate.

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