Chicago Schools to Cut SRO Budget by More than Half
Additionally, major reforms are being implemented in the hiring and training of SROs.
Chicago – Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson said on Wednesday that funding for the district’s police officers will be cut by more than half. Additionally, major reforms will be adopted.
Although the school board narrowly approved keeping its contract with the Chicago Police Department, the budget for school resource officers (SROs) will be cut from $33 million to $15 million, reports WGN-TV.
The in-custody death of George Floyd has prompted activists to call for officers to be removed from the city’s schools. The move by Lightfoot and Jackson doesn’t remove officers, however, campuses can decide whether or not they will keep their SROs. So far, 55 campuses are keeping their officers while 17 are opting not to have SROs.
How SROs can be hired, their duties and how complaints will be handled is also being reformed. If a recruit has an excessive force allegation against them in the past five years or if there are complaints of inappropriate verbal or physical contact with students, they will be barred from being hired.
Principals will be involved in the hiring process, and candidates should have experience working with children.
Officers also won’t be allowed to work with federal immigration authorities while they are on duty. Additionally, they won’t be allowed to enter student data in the city’s gang database or access the database while they are on campus.
SROs will also receive training on bias and cultural sensitivity. Jackson said complaints against the officers will be “tracked, reviewed and resolved in a timely manner.”
Some activists, however, don’t want SROs on campus at all. Some want them replaced with social workers.
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