Police in Schools

Chicago Cuts School Police Budget by More Than Half

In other news, Chicago Public Schools will still spend $15 million on school police.

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After months of pressure from local activists, Chicago Public Schools announced today that it will cut its funding for school police by more than half.

The school district's proposed $6.9 billion annual budget, released today, cuts funding for school resource officers (SROs) to patrol school hallways from $33 million to no more than $15 million. The school district attributed the reductions to the COVID-shortened school year and the elimination of 48 mobile patrol officers.

"This reduction will allow the district to support the significant investments it is making in other areas while maintaining SRO support for the school communities that vote to remain in the program," the school district said in a press release accompanying the budget.

Over the last few months, school districts across the country have faced demands to remove or reduce the presence of school resource officers. So far, San Francisco is the largest school district to move toward defunding its SRO program. The Oakland school board also voted unanimously to eliminate the district's police department and shift its $2.5 million budget to student support services. Minneapolis, Denver, Seattle, Charlottesville, and Portland, Oregon, have also ended or suspended relationships with local police.

Civil liberties groups have long argued that police in schools, along with absurd zero-tolerance policies, exacerbate the "school-to-prison" pipeline and funnel minor offenders into the criminal justice system.

Police departments and organizations like the National Association of School Resource Officers say that well-trained SROs act as liaisons between the school and police department. And school officials have fretted about their ability to respond to potential mass shootings if they slash SRO budgets. Citing those concerns, the Chicago Board of Education rejected a proposal in June to end its $33 million contract with the Chicago Police Department (CPD).

But individual schools in Chicago have until Friday to decide whether they want to continue using CPD officers. Local news outlet WTTW reports that five Chicago public schools so far have voted to remove police officers from their campuses. 

Activists who supported the Chicago Board of Education proposal to end the school district's contract with CPD cited a 2019 incident in which video showed CPD officers kicking, punching, and tasing a 16-year-old girl.

The Justice Department's 2017 report on unconstitutional policing in Chicago found that CPD officers used non-lethal force with abandon, including tasing children for non-criminal conduct or minor violations.

Chicago officials insist they've made, and are continuing to make, significant reforms to the SRO program.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot opposed calls to remove CPD entirely from the city's schools. "We all want change," Lightfoot said. "But we want to do the right things. We don't want to just do cosmetic changes or quick changes that end up creating more problems and make our communities and schools less safe."

The school district's contract with the city's police department expires at the end of the month, and the board is scheduled to vote on a new contract on August 26.

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15 responses to “Chicago Cuts School Police Budget by More Than Half

  1. https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1292804013344337921.html

    Look at Chicago and understand this is every city, every town, under Democrat rule. If you’re a working middle-class American, you’re fighting for your life in the 2020 election, and voting Democrat is suicide. Abolish the Police is the only issue and they’re on the wrong side.
    Don’t let Joe Biden’s handlers convince you he’s some kind of “moderate” who just wants “reforms.” The Democrat Party is 100% run by extremists now. They are VERY insistent that when they say Abolish the Police, they mean exactly that.
    The core ideology of the radicalized Democrat party requires dissolving the rule of law. This is baked into everything they say, every policy they push. They think impartially enforced law is racist, sexist, transphobic, etc. “Justice” is the antonym of “law” to them.
    That’s why Dems shriek like banshees against the presumption of innocence, a core concept in the traditional American understanding of law and justice. Their ideology is all about presumed GUILT. Every policy is based on politicized notions of identity and grievance.
    Everything from Democrat speech codes to economic policy is based on variables of grievance and entitlement, not absolute principles that apply equally to everyone. What you’re allowed to say and do, what you’re allowed to own, depends on your class, race, and politics.
    This radicalized concept of law as a political instrument is cooked into every single policy on the Left. Some people just have more “rights” than others. No rights are inalienable. Everything, right down to the words you’re permitted to use, is calculated based on your identity.
    These riot-prone blue cities are just the most vulgar example of what will happen everywhere in America if Democrats take power. It’s ALREADY happening everywhere because they have so much power over media, and especially over education.
    Once you throw out the rule of law, the presumption of innocence, and inalienable rights, you’re lucky if the worst thing that happens is local officials deciding your family and property don’t deserve police protection from looters, or the privilege of defending yourself.
    That’s the key word right there: PRIVILEGE. The Left’s obsession with that word is very illuminating. They think everything is a “privilege,” nothing is an inalienable right. Privileges can be revoked. The term conveys a sense of unfairness that needs redressing.
    Understand that the radicalized Democrat Party thinks even the basic duties of government, like protecting lives and property rights, are actually “privileges.” They hate police because they see them as racist mall cops enforcing the unfair privileges of the middle class.
    The Democrats are hell-bent on taking those “privileges” away: your money, property, liberty, and security. You’re not even allowed to refuse to participate in their ideological crusades. They loathe middle class “privilege,” which they rhetorically disguise as “white privilege.”
    If you want to keep a shred of the traditional, REAL American ideals of equality, opportunity, security, and lawfulness, vote against Democrats in November like your life depended on it. They will sacrifice every shred of law on their altar of “justice” unless you stop them. /end

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  4. The dumbasses that run the schools were the ones who brought in the cops in the first place. It’s to keep these scholars from shooting each other or the faculty. I remember when they put up metal detectors to screen for weapons. Of course you could always sneak in railroad tie to get the job done.

  5. Another problem with SROs is that they are known to harass and bully students. For example, the SRO in the Parkland shooting incident was alleged to have sexually harassed one of the victims of the shooting, and he referred to the shooter as ‘crazy boy’. It’s easy to see how they can actually instigate kids to attack, and thus the funding actually backfires. Best to abolish these programs completely. I like the police and actually support qualified immunity but they need to keep a low profile. And before you threaten to move a terrorist in next door to me – please do. I’m not scared. And I would gladly fly Contagious Terrorist Airlines if it meant no security screening or masks so don’t even. (Having said that, I support masks, just not the mandates.)

    1. “…and he referred to the shooter as ‘crazy boy’.”

      Nikolas Cruz killed 17 and wounded 17. I think “crazy boy” might be an apt description.

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  6. “If it saves just one life” is a common do-gooder justification for curtailing rights and liberties.

    With that in mind, the school to prison pipeline in Chicago should be upgraded, not eliminated. I will bet that teachers can reliably predict which rogue students are likely to (or already have) committed serious violent acts, so after a sham hearing, let’s transfer them to prison and save hundreds of lives per year. SJW warning: this just might turn out to have a racially biased outcome.

  7. So how much of a tax refund does that work out to per taxpayer in Chicago? Enough to cover the cost of printing the checks? Oh, they’re cutting city services but not the cost of city services? Well, I suppose that’s reasonable, too. Can we pay them to go away completely?

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  11. 12 comments, 6 are spam. Come on Reason. Or does Reason think allowing spam is a libertarian right?

  12. It actually makes sense. As the shootings and deaths increase in schools the number of students will go down, saving tax strapped Chicago even more money. (sarc)

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