In January 2012, Project NIA released a report titled “Policing Chicago Public Schools: A Gateway to the School-to-Prison Pipeline. The report found that:
There were 6,430 total arrests on Chicago Public School properties in 2010;
Of these, 5,574 were juvenile (under 18 years old) arrests on Chicago Public School properties. School-based arrests of youth accounted for 20 percent of all juvenile arrests (27,563) in the city of Chicago in 2010.
Black youth accounted for 74 percent of juvenile school-based arrests in 2010; while Latino youth represented 22.5 percent of these arrests. 45 percent of CPS students are African American while 41 percent are Latino (CPS, 2009). This suggests that black students are disproportionately targeted for arrest in CPS.
Nearly a third (27%) of juvenile school-based arrest offenses is simple battery. This suggests that a significant number of CPS students are probably being arrested for fighting.
The highest aggregate numbers of juvenile school-based arrests are in the 4th, 6th, 8th, 22nd, and 5th police districts. Together these five districts account for 39% of total juvenile school-based arrests on CPS property.
One of the main recommendations in Policing Chicago Public Schools suggests that we need timely and reliable data tracking the numbers of school-based arrests and suspensions and expulsions in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). In December 2010, the New York City Council passed the Student Safety Act which:
• Requires the Department of Education to report to the City Council on the numbers of suspensions, expulsions, arrests and student-police altercations in schools. The City Council can then track and monitor whether discipline is being enforced equally for all students.
• Provides lawmakers and the public vital access to raw data on school disciplinary actions.
• Increases transparency at the NYPD School Safety Division and the Department of Education.”
Following the lead of New York City, we call on the Chicago City Council to pass an ordinance mirroring the NYC Student Safety Act. The Chicago Student Safety Act (2012) would require quarterly reporting by the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Police Department (CPD) to the City Council on school safety and disciplinary issues, including incidents involving arrests and suspensions of students. It would provide the public with raw data to study the impact of disciplinary practices and encourage the crafting of more effective policies.
We invite everyone interested to join us as we advocate and organize for the passage of the Chicago Student Safety Act. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.