Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is being asked to move funds over to counselors and prevention strategies, as a student advocacy group says the current zero-tolerance disciplinary policies do not work in the schools.
Thursday, with a cost analysis report in hand, Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) showed that spent $51.4 million on school-based security guards last year, which was roughly 15 times what was spent on college and career coaches.
Each year, CPS spends $25 million for each of its 100 high schools to have two police officers.
Principal Joyce Kenner from Whitney Young told the Chicago Tribune that the police officers in her building keep the campus safe and they ensure the students get to and from the nearby train station
“Those police officers are my additional eyes and ears,” she said. “I absolutely need them both.”
However, the student group’s report “Failed Policies, Broken Futures,” says CPS spends millions of dollars on enforcement of its code of conduct, which is no longer works.
VOYCE says the zero-tolerance policy in the schools are removing students from class for minor infractions like talking on their cell phones or not wearing a uniform.
One student who was kicked out of Kelly High School for a month two years ago when he was suspected of ditching class, says it did nothing.
“Kicking me out didn’t make me or the school any safer,” he said.
The group is asking that CPS limit the use of suspensions, arrests and other harsh punishments that keep students out of the classroom, and removed the officers from the schools.
They pointed out that doing so would help with the $612 million budget deficit CPS is currently facing.