Chicago Education Board Votes Unanimously To Remove Cops From Schools

"The blood is going to be on your hands."

The Chicago Board of Education on Thursday voted unanimously to remove police officers from the city’s public schools.

The board voted 7-0 to end the school resource officer program as well as remove police officers from the 39 public schools that had cops on campus. Dozens of schools also had school resource officers on campus.

“Today’s resolution is fulfilling the board’s commitment to focus on alternative systems of safety,” said Chicago Board of Education member Michelle Morales.

This means Chicago Public Schools will not renew its $10.3 million contract with the city to have police officers at schools.

“We will continue to collaborate with CPD on its support for arrival and dismissal times, and responses to emergencies,” said another Board of Education member, Rudy Lozano Jr.

Despite the unanimous vote, the education board meeting was heated with Chicago residents showing up to advocate both for and against officers in schools.

Members of the Chicago City Council were also divided.

“I’m just telling you all right now — the blood is going to be on your hands if something happens to some kids, or some teacher, or some crazy parent in the parking lot,” Alderman Nicholas Sposato said.

Last month, the push to remove cops from the city’s public schools drew backlash from school principals.

A December 15 meeting between principals and the city’s school board did not go the way the principals expected, according to Troy LaRaviere, president of the Chicago Principals & Administrators Association.

Principals were told they would be able to give their input on the decision to remove school resource officers, but they did not get that chance, LaRaviere told CBS News Chicago.

“They were told that the board had made a unilateral decision, without the input of the people who actually run the schools,” LaRaviere said.

Before the current school year, 40 high schools voted on whether to keep police officers in their schools. All but one voted to keep officers on campus.

Some of the high schools chose to get rid of one of their two officers, however. The schools that chose to remove one or both officers received about $3.7 million for “alternative safety interventions.”

LaRaviere explained that school resource officers build relationships with the students, which is helpful when an incident occurs.

“If you don’t have an SRO, what are you supposed to do? You don’t have the SRO with the relationships. You have to call 911. And then you have to get the luck of the draw,” LaRaviere told the outlet. “Cops with no relationships with the children show up.”

Mark Grishaber, the principal of William Howard Taft High School in north Chicago, said his school’s resource officers “know half the kids by their first name” and are often able to deescalate situations.

“The SRO has been trained and knows how to deal with teens in a school community,” Grishaber told Nadig Newspapers. “You can see the difference.”

The move to remove police from schools echoes remarks Chicago’s mayor made when he was running for office.

Mayor Brandon Johnson said at the time that “armed officers have no place in schools in communities already struggling with over-incarceration, criminalization, profiling and mistrust.”

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