CPS Offers Counseling Services to Students After Release of Laquan McDonald Video - NBC Chicago

CPS Offers Counseling Services to Students After Release of Laquan McDonald Video

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    Chicago Public Schools sent a letter to parents after the release of the dash-cam video showing the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, saying they will offer counseling services to students who may see the video.

    The letter, signed by Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson, acknowledges that many students will see the video, although it will not  be shown in any CPS schools. In order to help students understand what they see in the video, district officials encourage students to talk to counselors. They also created a "special toolkit" to help teachers talk to students about the content of the video.

    "To make sure that children have a safe outlet for their questions and emotions, we have created a special toolkit that will help teachers talk to students about this incident in a sensitive and constructive way," the letter reads. "The toolkit suggests the students continue the conversation at home, sharing what they've learned with their parents and having an open dialogue." 

    On Tuesday, Chicago officials released the dash-cam video, described as "graphic" and "chilling," that shows 17-year-old McDonald being shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer. The footage has been described as something that "will tear at the hearts of all Chicagoans." 

    Hours before the video was released, Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder for the fatal shooting.

    Dan Herbert, Van Dyke's attorney, has argued the video alone is not enough to determine if Van Dyke "acted inappropriately" when he fatally shot McDonald, though he has described the footage as "graphic and violent" and "difficult to watch." He said outside the courtroom Tuesday that the case needs to be tried in a courtroom, "not in the streets or in the media." 

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