What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• The author examines the consent decree, a court order that establishes an enforceable and monitored plan, that will train and vet police officers working in Chicago schools.
• One law professor at Northwestern University says that the decree uses vague language that does not offer clear enough guidelines that dictate police officers' actions in schools. How can the language of the law be used to help strengthen guidelines for police instead of 'loosen the reigns'?
• Read about the efforts to improve Chicago neighborhoods by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
Alex King remembers feeling unsettled whenever he saw uniformed police officers patrolling North Lawndale College Prep, guns on their hips.
“Seeing police in school changes the mindsets of everyone there,” said King, a 17-year-old anti-gun violence activist.
He hopes that a new pact governing police, including their behavior on campus, will help. The 232-page proposed reform agreement, or consent decree, more broadly addresses problems with training, use of force, bias and misconduct at Chicago’s troubled police department. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Mayor Rahm Emanuel negotiated the consent decree, and released it for public comment last week. A consent decree is a court order that establishes an enforceable plan whose progress is overseen and reported on by an independent monitor.
Only about four pages touch on police who work in schools, known as school resource officers, but those pages will have impact. They won’t phase out school-assigned cops like community groups demanded in May. Instead, the plan lays out ways to better screen and train them, limit use of force against students, and curb police involvement in school discipline. The mayor’s deputy chief of staff for public safety, Walter Katz, said the policies aim to improve interactions between young people and police.
Alexa Van Brunt, a law professor at Northwestern University and an attorney at the MacArthur Justice Center, said that having a police officer on campus without clear policies outlining their responsibilities leaves open the possibility that off-duty officers get involved in situations that educators are typically charged with handling, like two kids fighting in a hallway. This can lead to students getting hurt even worse, or arrested.
Before the 2019-20 school year, the proposal requires the school district and police departments to better vet school resource officers.
Read the full article about police in Chicago schools by Adeshina Emmanuel at Chalkbeat