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🔥 Wednesday in Chicago 🔥
Leading up to the Wednesday CPS Board of Ed meeting, RYH organized a letter from CPS families of children with disabilities to the BOE supporting the #PoliceFreeSchools movement. Students with IEPs make up about 15% of total CPS students but comprised 34% of all police notifications in 2017-18. You can read the letter here.
We also shared a very powerful letter to the BOE from Mr. Laurentio Howard: “In Jan 2019, Chicago police officers assigned to Marshall HS dragged my daughter down a flight of stairs and then tasered her, punched her in the face, and stood on her chest.” You can read the full letter here.
Wednesday morning began with CPS students from the #PoliceFreeSchools coalition gathering at CPS BOE President del Valle’s house. They were there during the entire 6 hour BOE meeting (you could hear them at times during the live stream.) Two of these students were speakers at the meeting. They both did a mic check during their statements- collectively sharing youth voice. There's some coverage of the student action here in Injustice Watch: Proposal to boot Chicago cops from public schools rejected by school board.
At noon, a rally and caravan kicked off downtown, with participants calling for schools to reopen safely without cops and without COVID-19. About a dozen organizations sponsored this event and RYH was one of them. You may have seen us passing out signs (and Sharpies) and water. Here’s some press from the Sun-Times: Chicago teachers demonstrate to remove police officers from schools.
The big item on the BOE agenda was the motion proposed by board member Todd-Breland which would terminate the $33M SRO (School Resource Officer) contract between CPS and the Chicago Police Department. This article from the Sun-Times is very comprehensive and worth your time: Chicago school board votes 4-3 to keep police contract — for now. WBEZ has audio and a written report here: Chicago School Board Votes To Keep Cops In City Schools.
So what’s next?
There is a subject matter hearing in City Council on the CPS-CPD contract. It will take place virtually, Thursday, July 2, 10AM.
The CPS-CPD contract ends on August 31 with an option to renew so the BOE will vote on renewal of the contract in either July or August. Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago Public Schools will keep its police program — for now.
And the youth who are leading the way? The Triibe: After a failed CPS Board vote to remove CPD from schools, youth activists vow to keep fighting
Want to learn more about this issue? Check out our webpage here with our recent Reimagining Public Safety in Schools webinar, companion guide, and resource page.
ISBE Guidelines for the 2020-21 school year + 2 CPS surveys
On Tuesday, the IL State Board of Education (ISBE) released their guidelines for IL school districts: Starting the 2020-21 School Year. Yesterday they released their FAQ document on this guidance. IL school districts will now take this guidance, plus stakeholder feedback (we hope), and create their individual district’s plans for the fall.
We recommend you read the two ISBE documents linked above plus this article from Chalkbeat Chicago: ‘This fall will not be business as usual’: 5 things to know about schools reopening in Illinois. In the coming weeks, look for communication from your school and/or district. Hopefully you will have an opportunity to provide some feedback as plans are created.
CPS shared this student survey and this parent survey - both of these came via email. At the CPS Board of Ed meeting, CEO Jackson said the district will have their guidance soon then schools will determine their plans based on the district guidance- and somehow LSCs will be involved. We have no details on how this will work but we are letting you know so you can look out for communication from your school as well as the district. Try to attend Local School Council (LSC) meetings this summer.
Please let us know if we missed something in the RYH webpage linked above. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any additions, corrections, etc.
RYH has two summer interns!
We are really excited to introduce you to Sophia & Andy! They are both excellent additions to our team & are already hard at work!
Sophia Norton is a rising junior at Vanderbilt University studying special education on the low incidence track. She has previously worked with individuals and families with disabilities as a tutor, caregiver and camp counselor around the Chicago area. She is very excited to work with Raise Your Hand this summer and will be focusing on a number of special education related initiatives!
Andy Xiao is a rising junior at Northwestern University, and he’s planning on majoring in sociology. He is a general intern here at Raise Your Hand. He strongly believes in both the power and importance of education, and he hopes that through his time at RYH, he'll be able to make a difference for those who need it most.