New Chicago Public Schools curriculum will teach students in eighth and tenth grades this fall about police torture at the hands of former police Commander Jon Burge, CPS and the Chicago Police Department announced Monday.
“Only by facing history directly and honestly can we heighten understanding of this dark chapter and increase our ability to confront its challenges,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.
Six CPS schools piloted the program, and "Burge Reparations Curriculum" will now go to all schools in the district.
Burge, a former police commander, has been accused by more than 100 African Americans of torturing and physically abusing them while in police custody during the '70s, '80s and early '90s. Special prosecutors alleged that Burge led the torture of suspects that resulted in dozens of confessions.
“Confronting the sins of the past is critical to building a better future together, CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in a statement. "It’s vital for students to closely examine past wrongs so that as future leaders they can make their community better."
CPS and the CPD unveiled the curriculum after "working for months with African-American community leaders, civil rights advocates, law enforcement, academic researchers and the Chicago Teachers Union," CPS said in a statement.
“This curriculum was created thoughtfully and collaboratively," Emanuel said, "and I am confident it will be a meaningful, impactful and educational experience for students across Chicago Public Schools.”
The course will be designed to educate students on a dark chapter of Chicago's history. A memorial will also be built to honor the victims.
"What I think is important to know is that that Chicago Police Department does not exist anymore, and it will not exist," Supt. Eddie Johnson said Monday. "We have to be part of the community and treat people fairly regardless of what circumstances we come in contact with."