Aldermen push to remove police from Chicago Public Schools

Chicago News

CHICAGO — A group of about 30 students, parents, and politicians rallied outside City Hall Tuesday morning to show support for a proposed ordinance that would remove Chicago police from public schools in the city.

Among the causes supported by protesters in recent weeks is defunding police departments, including measures like removing uniformed officers from schools. 

Alderman Jeanette Taylor (20th Ward) is one of three city council members who proposed the plan.

“There are over 2,000 complaints against the Chicago Police Department in CPS, and what did the Board of Education do? Absolutely nothing,” Taylor said.

The ordinance would terminate a $33 million contract between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Police Department that puts police in schools across the district within 75 days of its approval.

It would also permanently end the relationship between the police department and public school system, preventing any future contracts. 

“They were there to protect students from outside sources, what’s come to happen now is the police officers are enforcing matters inside that school and in effect taking these children to jail for what we would call minor infractions or delinquencies,” said Alderman Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward).

Caleb Reed was one of them. The senior says he was arrested at a high school basketball game because he didn’t have his student ID on him.

“I was angry and confused, of course I was like, ‘why is it happening to me?’ But it was something I expected because I know I’m a young black man,” Reed said.

Some students and parents say they’d rather see the money that’s spent on police used to fund desperately needed student services like nurses and social workers.

“How are they going to protect something if we’re afraid of them? We’re scared of them, so they’re not really protecting anything if we fear them,” Reed said. “That money should be invested in our schools so students can thrive and want to go to school.”

Getting the proposal passed could prove difficult. It’s not clear if it has gained wide support in the city council, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot is opposed to it, saying police officers are needed for school safety.

The Chicago Teachers Union was not present Tuesday morning, but they say they support the ordinance and want police out of the classroom.

Later Tuesday, a small group gathered outside 50th Ward Alderman Deb Silverstein’s office. 

The ordinance is expected to be introduced at the city council meeting Wednesdsay.

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