Police are searching for the person who shot and killed two teenagers Friday and injured two others outside of Benito Juarez Community Academy in Pilsen.
Students and community members rallied Monday calling for solutions to the city’s gun violence, which has recently come to the doorstep of schools like Juarez. The shooting also sheds light on the debate over police officers in schools, who are known as school resource officers.
Some schools, like Juarez, have voted to remove the officers while others have elected to keep them.
Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th Ward) represents an area of the city that includes Morgan Park High School. The local school council voted to keep their school resource officer.
“School resource officers are Chicago police officers who are assigned inside the building. In theory, what they should be doing is establishing relationships with the student body so they know that they can come to them if there’s a problem…,” O’Shea said. “I think they can be an effective tool and they can be helpful.”
O’Shea says SROs have been effective at combating crime at Morgan Park High School.
Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th Ward) points out that Chicago communities are all different and have different needs. He points out at least three schools that had SROs where there was inappropriate behavior.
Benito Juarez Community Academy voted to remove their SROs in 2020.
“What we need is to make sure that we get investments, that we prevent these incidents by addressing conflict that is happening inside and outside the school,” said Sigcho-Lopez. “The 19th Ward and the 25th Ward are very different, but I think both communities deserve and need desperately the same investment.”