An upcoming vote will decide if school resources officers will remain in Chicago’s public schools next fall.
The Chicago Board of Education is set to vote on whether to renew the $10.3 million police contract this summer, according to WBEZ Chicago.
However, the local news station reports CPS officials already told principals that board members aren’t in favor of having the officers in schools.
When Chicago’s new mayor Brandon Johnson was elected in April, all but one member of the board was replaced with Johnson appointees. The only carryover from the previous board was Elizabeth Todd-Breland, a history teacher who consistently voted against the previous police contract.
Mayor Johnson has been open about his dislike for armed officers in public schools, according to WBEZ.
But some school officials want the officers, including Taft High School Principal Mark Grishaber, whose school has been criticized for ‘lax’ security.
In March, hundreds of Taft students walked out of class, claiming they didn’t feel safe after being informed of a threat directed towards the school.
“I’m sick of having to plan a literal escape route every single time I enter a classroom,” Taft junior Sally O’Toole told CBS News.
Even after the threat was deemed non-credible, students stayed home, reportedly due to the school’s lack of communication.
“Since then, the school has been pretty empty,” a Taft sophomore told Block Club Chicago. “A lot of students haven’t been showing up the past few days. A lot of people are scared. Monday especially, like only half the school’s students showed up.”
In response to the situation, Grishaber sent a letter to the school community listing SROs as one of the ways it would continue to “support the safety of our school community.”
Alderman Nicholas Sposato of the 38th Ward claims local school councils should maintain the power to make decisions that are best suited for their individual schools, instead of the school board deciding what’s best for all the local schools.