School resource officers are under scrutiny again at CPS as dozens of high schools reconsider controversial police program – Chicago Tribune

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Forty-one high schools will reassess their safety plans and decide by June 15 whether to continue in the controversial Chicago Public Schools School Resource Officer program.

“It’s not just about voting on whether or not you want to keep ORS,” CPS chief safety and security officer Jadine Chou said at the Chicago Board of Education’s monthly meeting on Wednesday. . “It’s about how do you look at safety holistically – physical safety, emotional safety, and relationship safety?”

Last summer, 19 schools decided to keep their two uniformed police officers from Chicago; 22 schools chose to keep only one agent; and 12 schools voted to leave the SRO program. Based on the school’s votes, the board in September approved a one-year, $11 million agreement with the Chicago Police Department for this program.

Schools that dropped one or both of their officers received nearly $3.3 million combined to pay for an alternative, such as a restorative justice coordinator or youth intervention specialist.

Chou said Wednesday that in the coming weeks, the CPS will publish school discipline data online while determining other ways to measure whether these other approaches are working, such as how safe a school is perceived to be.

The 41 schools still in the SRO program must reconvene their safety committees, which will include at least two parents and two students, to review the data, seek feedback from members of the school community and present an updated safety plan. with a recommendation on school policing to the local. School Council for a vote by June 15th.

The 12 schools that left the SRO program do not have to go through this “whole school safety” planning process again and will receive the same funding as last year, Chou said. Schools that have eliminated police officers cannot reinstate them.

The process grew out of the national toll following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. CPS partnered with five community organizations, who held nine community meetings to gather feedback on the process and make recommendations such as sharing school safety plans online, increasing student engagement and the community in the decision-making and implementation process, and the promotion of success stories. .

“The first year was really about building what the whole school safety plan might look like in itself,” said Juleny Santa Cruz of Mikva Challenge, one of the groups that worked on this process. . “The second year is a very good opportunity to continue to push the limits, how to move security from punitive measures to holistic measures?”

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