Policing Chicago Public Schools: A New Report – Jan 25th

Youth Art from Suspension Stories

Join us on Wednesday January 25th from 10:30 am to Noon for the release of our new report “Policing Chicago Public Schools: A Gateway to the School-to-Prison Pipeline.”

The report written by Mariame Kaba and Frank Edwards relies on data from the Chicago Police Department to show (for the first time in seven years) the type of offenses and the demographics (gender, age and race) of the juveniles arrested on CPS properties in calendar year 2010.

In our discussions about the school-to-prison pipeline, we need concrete examples of how the process works. As such, it is important to understand the role that police and security staff play in our schools. Yet reports about police involvement in CPS have unfortunately not been readily available to the public. There is no easily accessible citywide or statewide data that illustrate how many students are arrested in schools each year. The last report that was written about the role of police in Chicago Public Schools was published in 2005 by the Advancement Project. That report, “Education on Lockdown,” found that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) referred over 8,000 students to law enforcement in 2003. Forty percent of these referrals were for simple assault or battery with no serious injuries. Most of these cases were dismissed.

Our purpose in writing this report is to ensure that the public is informed about the scope and extent of policing in Chicago Public Schools. We hope that this will galvanize educators, parents, students, policymakers and community members to advocate for a dramatic decrease of CPS’s reliance on law enforcement to address school discipline issues. Instead, we would like to see an increase in the use of restorative justice, which is an effective approach, to respond to student misbehavior in our schools.

In light of a push for budget austerity, limited resources should be re-directed away from policing and into affirming programs and opportunities for students. This, we believe, will improve the overall well-being of all stakeholders in the educational system (most especially students). We also call on our city council to improve data transparency by passing an ordinance requiring CPS and CPD to report quarterly on the numbers of students arrested in the district. Having timely and reliable information will support efforts to hold CPS and CPD accountable.

Finally, we believe that student privacy should be protected rather than further eroded. Current reporting practices between schools and law enforcement do not need to be reformed to increase the exchange of student information between these parties.

When: January 25, 2012
Time: 10:30 am to Noon
Where: Northwestern University Law School, Booth Hall (Room 204), 357 E. Chicago Ave (take stairs to 2nd floor).
RSVP: projectniaevents@hotmail.com

This meeting is co-sponsored by the Children and Family Justice Center.

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