Chicago Board of Education votes to remove school resource police officers from CPS schools

Friday, February 23, 2024
Chicago Board of Ed votes to remove police officers from city schools
In a unanimous vote Thursday, Chicago's Board of Education approved a plan to remove police officers from Chicago Public Schools, starting next school year.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's Board of Education made a decision Thursday on CPS school resource officers.

In a unanimous vote, Chicago's Board of Education approved a plan to remove police officers from Chicago Public Schools, starting next school year.

Starting next school year, the money dedicated to school resource officers, or SROs, could go toward wraparound support services.

"We are investing in the school and they will have the opportunity to decide how to use those funds," said Board of Education President JIanan Shi.

"When you make decisions that affect everyone decisions have to be made specifically for that particular school," said 24th Ward Alderman Monique Scott.

Many students supported the decision and said the student resource officers are costly, ineffective and that the officers make them feel unsafe.

"It's so important for me to speak up because I'm not able to speak up for my youth, they're not gonna have the power to speak up so somebody needs to set the example so I'm gonna set the example for my youth to be able to speak up," CPS student D'Andre Robinson said.

"We really need those funds so that Hyde Park can be a better place, other schools can be a better place," CPS student Makayla Acevedo said. "My school does not have nursing programs...I don't wanna have to go outside of high school to find resources just to build my goals to reach my goals."

RELATED: CPS board to discuss resolution to take over School Resource Officer decision from local councils

Currently, 39 high schools have police on campus.

Meanwhile, not all school communities wanted to see student resource officers go.

Michelle Clark Magnet School in the Austin neighborhood is one of the local school councils that voted to keep it's SRO because some think it helps repair distrust between Black and Brown communities and the police.

Ald. Scott is worried what the lack of police presence will means in her West Side schools, which she said don't have the support they need now.

"We're not getting those wrap-around services now. We wouldn't have 14- and 17-year-olds committing murders in front of a school. They should be in the schools, so those wrap-around services should already be happening now," she said.

CPS understands this could mean big changes for some schools more than others.

"It's a big shift, it's a big change and I don't want to minimize it and it is something that we're going to have to work together to help our parents understand, help our staff understand," said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez.

The Chicago Teachers Union welcomed the vote, saying in part, "Removing SROs from schools is something Black and brown youth organizers have been fighting to accomplish for years as part of the CopsOutCPS campaign, which the Chicago Teachers Union was proud to support."

Chicago Public School statement on Chicago's Board of Education decision:

"Since FY 2020, payment to Chicago Police Department (CPD) for the use of School Resource Officers (SROs) has been suspended. While CPD sent CPS invoices, payment was suspended amid and following the COVID-19 pandemic when schools were shut down and/or largely remote. CPS has continued to budget for the SRO Program, including approximately $10 million dollars this year, $10 million for 2022-23 and $11 million for SY 2021-22, which will be available to be repurposed. During the 2022-23 school year, CPS invested more than $30 million in social-emotional learning and this year the District has allocated more than $35 million to social and emotional learning curriculum, behavioral health supports for students, and additional social workers and counselors."