A youth-led action group marched around a now-vacant school in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood on Tuesday, calling for Chicago Public Schools officials to remove police officers from schools.
The group of approximately 200 CPS students and supporters marched through the streets, calling for “police-free schools” as part of a growing movement urging city officials to remove school resource officers from buildings.
“As black and brown students, we know the violence that police put onto us,” organizer Alycia Kamil said.
The group of students was not alone. In front of Chicago police headquarters Tuesday, protesters gathered to call for Mayor Lori Lightfoot to pull $500 million from the police budget, and to cancel the $33 million CPD contract for Chicago schools.
“We can march all day long,” community activist Ja’Mal Green said. “Peace will do nothing to reduce violence until we actually move toward the real resources needed to revitalize these communities.”
During protests Tuesday, one dad shared his story about his daughter’s interaction with CPD officers at a school. Laurentino Howard has been busy celebrating his daughter’s graduation from high school, but they’re still both traumatized by the day in 2019 when the then-16-year-old was dragged down the stairs of her school by an officer demanding her cell phone.
“The officers lied and said she initiated (the confrontation),” Howard said. “Video shows he pulled her down the stairs. They’re not trained to deal with the children. Period.”
In a letter to Mayor Lightfoot, Howard asked her to step in and get police out of schools.
“Put yourself in my shoes,” he said. “If your daughter was being beaten by CPD, would you want them in public schools?”
A federal lawsuit filed by the Howard family is still pending.