Chicago City Council was slated to debate on Wednesday a new proposal to remove police officers from the city's public schools.
Ald. Roderick Sawyer, Ald. Jeanette Taylor and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa introduced the "Police Free Schools Ordinance" on Monday to terminate the Chicago Police Department's $33 million contract with Chicago Public Schools.
The group of aldermen introduced the measure as protests against police brutality continue across Chicago, some calling specifically to remove officers from schools, and around the world following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
The measure introduced Monday says that the city and the Chicago Board of Education entered into an agreement in late 2019 to allow CPD to place officers in Chicago Public Schools.
The ordinance states that at least 180 uniformed Chicago police officers are in 76 Chicago Public Schools each day under the agreement, carrying "2 loaded guns and 4 magazines of 15 bullets, 1 canister of pepper spray, 1 taser and 2 taser cartridges, 1 expandable baton, and 1 pair of handcuffs each."
CPS said Local School Councils can review whether or not the individual schools want to keep officers in the schools, and that 72 of 93 high schools had officers, opting to retain them for the current academic year.
Officers in schools have received at least 2,354 complaints of misconduct, the ordinance says, alleging the police presence "creates dangerous conditions for students "that have led to the criminalization, mass incarceration, harassment, death, and heinous use of force against Brown and predominantly Black students."
The measure would allow require that the agreement be terminated within 75 days after the ordinance passes and takes effect. It would also prohibit the city or the police superintendent from entering into any future deals to place officers at schools.
"For years parents, teachers and students have questioned why police are in schools," Taylor said in a statement. “The trauma and harm that was done by this practice can never be erased. The money we spend on CPD in CPS can be used for a nurse, counselor, and real restorative justice programs that our students will need once returning to school."
"Chicago Public Schools values the feedback we are receiving from students, families, and community members, and we remain committed to continued engagement and dialog about the role of School Resource Officers in our schools," a CPS spokeswoman said in a statement on the proposal.
"Last summer, the district empowered Local School Councils to determine if SROs would be assigned to their schools because we firmly believe that elected local leaders are best suited to make these decisions for their own communities," CPS' statement continued. "Moving forward, we will continue to create forums for formal feedback and engagement so that we can respond to the needs of each school community."