With the second week of classes already under way, WTTW News reporter Joanna Hernandez moderated a live virtual conversation on back-to-school safety for children and youth in Chicago as part of the WTTW News: A Safer City initiative.
Chicago Public Schools is planning to spend $76 million to expand and upgrade the number of security cameras both inside and outside of district-run schools across the city — a move it says will improve the safety of students and staff.
Some Chicago public schools will retain their resource officers, following a split vote by the Board of Education to approve a one-year, $11 million contract with the Chicago Police Department.
Hailing the changes as a “major, major improvement,” the Chicago Board of Education has approved revisions to the student code of conduct, which advise school administrators against contacting police in non-emergency incidents in an attempt to eradicate the school-to-prison pipeline.
While several Chicago Public Schools have removed police officers from their buildings, 55 schools still have what are called “school resource officers.” On Wednesday, the school district and five community organizations laid out recommendations for those schools to pursue a more holistic approach to safety.
For the seventh straight year, children and teens will be guided along their daily commute by Safe Passage workers – community members hired out by CPS to keep watch over students during as they walk to school in the morning and back home in the afternoon.
On Thursday, “Chicago Tonight” welcomes 50 Mikva Challenge high school students from across the city to participate in a forum on violence.
In the wake of the elementary school rampage in Connecticut, the Chicago Public Schools' security chief joins us to discuss school safety here.