POWER-PAC IL Wins Long Fought-For Memorandum of Understanding between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Police Department

Elementary Justice Campaign members holding a “Know Your Rights” Teach-In for other POWER-PAC IL parents

This winter, POWER-PAC IL parents won a victory when Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Chicago Police Department (CPD) finalized an agreement laying out new rules for police in Chicago Schools.

Last year, in partnership with the then-Attorney General Lisa Madigan, parents helped to inform the negotiation of a Consent Decree with the Chicago Police Department and the City, now in effect. Part of the Consent Decree was a requirement that CPS and CPD establish rules around the role of police in schools.

Under the new rules, Chicago police officers in schools will no longer be able to intervene in school discipline actions that are not involving criminal activity. There is a new mechanism for CPS to file a complaint about an officer, and there are new requirements around which police can be placed in a school – with the school community having input into that decision.

Last summer, all 200 Chicago police officers who are posted in schools received training on these new rules and on their defined role – along with training on restorative justice principles. This was the first training offered to these officers in at least a decade.

POWER-PAC IL’s Elementary Justice Campaign aims to stop the School-to-Prison Pipeline and end the cycle of criminalization of low-income youth of color. Last year, parents hosted a national “Counselors Not Cops!” Week of Action event with partners from across the country.

This fall, parents hosted a statewide teach-in for parents to better understand their rights around school discipline issues and restorative justice.

Parents in Chicago are ultimately pushing for the $33 million dollars that CPS currently spends to support police in schools to be shifted toward funding more social and emotional supports for students and funding for restorative justice programs in the schools. Meetings between the parent
leaders and the Chicago Public School Director of Safety and Security Jadine Chou are ongoing as the push to go deeper with these reforms continues! Stay tuned.

Read recent media coverage about the new police in schools rules here.

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