When students at Hyde Park Academy High School on the South Side return to school next year, a new dean of school culture and climate will begin handling some disputes through restorative justice. The Gordon S. Hubbard High School in West Lawn will have a dedicated staff member coordinating social and emotional support for students. And the Emil G. Hirsch Metropolitan High School in Greater Grand Crossing will have a full-time social worker.
All three schools will free up funds for these positions by removing one of their two in-school police officers. They’re among 31 Chicago public high schools that plan to reduce or eliminate their police presence next year, after Chicago Public Schools’ Local School Councils concluded voting on the controversial issue last week.
Police presence in schools disproportionately affects Black and brown students, sometimes placing them on a fast-track to the school-to-prison pipeline. Fifty-three Chicago high schools had police known as “school resource officers” assigned to them during the past school year, although closures from the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the cops didn’t patrol on campuses. Ahead of a planned return this fall, school councils had three options to choose from: retain both officers, remove them both, or remove just one. Of the 31 schools that chose the latter two options, seven opted to completely eliminate police, according to a count released yesterday on the CPS’s website. Another 20 schools chose to retain both. Two more have yet to finalize results.