Some say Chicago police officers should not be in schools
CHICAGO (WLS) -- While Chicago Public Schools students are still on winter break, some of their principals are trying to unpack a possible plan by the CPS Board to eliminate School Resource Officers, or SROs.
"When this happened, they called me, blindsided," said Troy LaRaviere, Chicago Principals and Administrators Association president.
LaRaviere met with some of the principals he said were part of a virtual meeting last month at which the Board shared an idea to remove officers from schools.
"How can you possibly make a decision about schools without talking to their leaders of the schools?" LaRaviere said.
On the Northwest Side, 38th Ward Alderman Nick Sposato said he is trying to set up a meeting with the board president and other aldermen he said are troubled by the idea.
"It's a terrible idea; they obviously did not think this out," Sposato said. "These officers build relationships with these kids; most of them are very well respected in their schools. And they've got sources, and they stop a lot of stuff."
There has been vocal criticism of armed Chicago police officers in schools.
Ja'Mal Green is a CPS graduate turned activist who said he was traumatized by an interaction he had with an officer in high school. He would like to see a transition ultimately to more services and support, so officers are not needed.
"I'm for police officers coming to play basketball with the kids, throw the football or mentor them or play chess. Those are things I want to see, not just police being in schools to arrest," Green said.
Bogan High School is among the schools that retained two SROs. Bogan's principal was in the December meeting and said she was surprised.
She said she would like to see improved police community relations, and said her SROs have been catalysts for change.
"I think it would be a shame to remove them out from our community, where they have a positive impact on our school and our students," Alahrie Aziz-Sims said.
CPS did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the proposal.