CHICAGO — The Chicago school board voted Wednesday to continue the city’s contract with the Chicago Police Department.
The board voted 4-3 to keep the contract.
The three women on the board voted to terminate the district’s contract with police. The four men on the board voted to keep it.
“Police do not belong in our schools,” Board member Elizabeth Todd Breland said. “This is a civil rights issue.”
“Safety is of the utmost concern to all of us,” board president Miguel del Valle said.
Following outrage over the police killing of George Floyd, the calls have grown louder in Chicago to take police out of schools.
Dr. Rebekah Fenton was among those who weighed in during the virtual board meeting.
“The research shows us that Black and Brown students are most commonly the ones who are involved in incidents,” he said. “We also see that students who have diverse learning experiences and individualized learning plans are also more common to be involved in police interactions.”
Several aldermen also voiced their opinions.
“I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have a law enforcement officer there to protect our students and our teachers,” 18th Ward Alderman Derrick Curtis said.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Janice Jackson said the decision should be left up to local school councils.
“In the case where LSC does not want police presence in their schools, we will remove them,” Jackson said. “But in the case they do, we will affirm that decision. And that’s currently where the district stands on this.”
But the Chicago Teachers Union said the vote is another example of why Chicago needs an elected school board. They said money from the $33 million contract could be put to better use funding more counselors, support services and restorative justice programs in schools.
The debate on this is far from over though.
The contract expires at the end of August, so the board will need to vote on a new contract with police. The union believes when that happens, the outcome will be different.
The board’s next monthly meeting is scheduled for July 22.