As violent crime runs rampant in Democrat-controlled Chicago, Mayor Brandon Johnson has declared his support for plans to remove police from the murder-infested city’s schools.
During an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ, Mayor Johnson announced that he is supporting the decision by the city’s Board of Education to end a contract with the Chicago Police Department (CPD).
Principals were reportedly told by Chicago Public School (CPS) officials to prepare for the potential removal of police officers by next fall.
The mayor said:
“The Board of Education is moving in the direction that I do support.
“There is an intergovernmental agreement between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Police Department.
“To end that agreement, there’s no qualms from me there.”
After the CPS formed a $10.3 million contract with the police department, their relationship has been viewed as controversial.
As an alternative to school officers, CPS officials are determining whether to have “roving units” of police officers.
The units would patrol the areas surrounding schools as a way to respond to any threats to students.
Earlier in January, the Chicago Board of Education was reportedly seeking to strip Local School Councils, organizations made up of parents, teachers, and students, of their power to choose whether to have school resource officers (SROs) at their schools.
According to local outlet WBEZ, the board will remove all officers from school grounds after taking the decision away from local councils.
The move to strip Local School Councils’ of their power to decide whether to keep SROs has been criticized as undermining the democratic process in local school decisions.
Taft High School Principal Mark Grishaber shared concerns about the potential decision, saying safety is their primary concern.
Grishaber cited a survey showing that parents, faculty, and students at his school support police officers in schools 80-90%.
He added that despite support for SROs, he had been told the board had already “made its decision.”
Taft High School was among the few that voted to keep officers on their premises after some schools opted to remove them in 2020.
When running for mayor, Johnson condemned police officers being on school grounds.
He claimed that “armed officers have no place in schools, in communities already struggling with over-incarceration, criminalization, profiling, and mistrust.”
However, Johnson later supported local school councils voting on the presence of police officers in schools after being elected.
The Chicago Board of Education will reportedly vote this summer on whether to renew the police contract.
The Chicago Teachers Union, (CTU) advocated for police officers to be removed from schools in 2020, amid the violent Black Lives Matter-led “George Floyd” riots.
In a June 2020 statement, the CTU said:
“These students along with the parents, teachers, and staff that support them have looked at the data, experienced the brutality, and are calling for police-free schools.
“Members of the CPS community are calling on the $33 million contract between CPS and CPD to be better used for restorative justice coordinators, social workers, nurses, trauma supports, and other critical programs in schools.”