In the wake of Chief Executive Officer Janice Jackson, Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade and COO Arnaldo Rivera announcing their departure from the Chicago Public Schools leadership team, the #CopsOutCPS Coalition remains focused on amplifying the voices of CPS students. Regardless of who is in charge, our demands are clear: we need police out of our schools permanently.
Policing does not keep us safe. They do not prevent crime and more often end up escalating situations with violent tactics. We have heard the stories of officers shoving Marshall High School student Dnigma Howard down stairs, dragging 4 year old Jamari Wright, and countless interactions that CPS has not shared. Since 2011, CPS has called police on students a total of 27,738 times. During this pandemic, CPS has called the police to students homes this school year over 600 times through FOIA requests we obtained. CPS needs to acknowledge and take accountability for their role in forcing Black and brown students to interact with policing and police presence that disrupts our safety, our learning environments and our lives.
As a result of years of CPS student organizing, CPS announced the removal of police from their schools for the remainder of the school year. That is not enough until we remove police from our schools permanently. We need to look at the root cause of problems and it starts with asking what we – the students – need. It is time to reallocate the $12 million in funds from the SRO program AND the $1.8 billion CPS is receiving through federal funds towards real mental health support and services, nurses, counselors, social workers, art and afterschool programs, Social Emotional Learning, restorative justice mediators, free and fast wifi/technology devices, housing support for houseless students and families.
To the next CEO of CPS, we ask that you remember the time is now to invest in real safety for Chicago’s youth and that begins with cutting all ties with the Chicago Police Department. Let Black and brown youth live and thrive. Defunding the police and removing police from our schools is necessary to end the violence at the hands of white supremacy and anti-Blackness that CPS embodies within their decision-making.
To the next CEO of CPS, we ask that you cut all ties with Chicago Police and reallocate that money towards providing a nurturing environment for students that is full of resources such as providing nurses, school therapists, and implementing restorative justice programs. We must also rethink what accountability means, and that includes divesting from tactics that punish students, because accountability does NOT EQUAL punishment. Show us that you’re not just another one of Lori Lightfoot’s minions. Listen to student voices and demands!!