CHICAGO - The Chicago Board of Education voted Wednesday to continue its contract with the Chicago Police Department, keeping officers in schools across the city for now.
The board rejected the proposal to remove officers by a 4-3 vote. The decision was made after hours of debate and downtown protests regarding the vote.
The $33-million contract CPS has with CPD puts police officers in public schools across the city.
“That money could be put elsewhere. Like, there's 40 kids in a classroom…,” said Tatanisha Williams, who is the mother of a CPS student.
The rally Thursday started at Federal Plaza and was led by the father of a CPS student seen on video last year in a violent confrontation with police.
“She always asks me, ‘Dad, they was supposed to protect me. Why were they beating me like that?’” Laurentio Howard said.
With protesters on foot and in cars, the caravan moved to Daley Plaza and it was all timed to put pressure on the Chicago Board of Education as they had a daylong virtual debate on ending the contract with CPD.
“Students in schools tell us they feel less safe when police are in them,” said Amy Rome, who is a member of the education board.
“We need to get it right. There's a lot of room for improvement,” said Sendhil Revuluri, vice president of the education board.
In the end, the board voted 4-3 against the measure to terminate the contract, meaning school resource officers will stay in schools, with CPS leadership arguing that local school councils get the final say on whether they have SROs in school.
The Chicago Teachers Union and others say it's time for a different kind of safety -- protecting students from COVID-19.
“What we should be very clearly in this moment is shifting that $33 million contract into services that shift to make school communities safe in the middle of a global pandemic,” said Stacy Gates, vice president of the CTU.
So expect the protests to continue, with CTU responding to the final vote saying mayoral control of our schools has been "an unmitigated disaster."