Webinar — Cross-Sector Collaboration for Police Free Schools – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Webinar — Cross-Sector Collaboration for Police Free Schools

Jul 24, 2020

On Friday, July 24th, the Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative hosted a free webinar, Cross-Sector Collaboration for Police Free Schools, to explore the consequences of policing in all schools, with a focus on Chicago Public Schools. This webinar featured a panel of experts, including pediatricians and adolescent health physicians from Chicago hospitals and youth-led advocacy organization Voices of Chicago Youth in Education (VOYCE).

A robust national dialogue on systemic racism, white privilege, and police brutality has led to a closer examination of the dangers posed by police in schools. School Resource Officers (SROs) are police officers permanently assigned to schools in various cities throughout the United States. Overwhelming evidence indicates that SROs do not improve student safety and, in fact, are associated with worsening educational outcomes and incarceration, particularly among Black and brown youth. Furthermore, funds spent on SRO programs are increasing while school-based social support and trauma-informed services such as counseling, social workers, and restorative justice programming languish. Unfortunately, city councils and public school leadership have been reticent to respond to calls for removing this source of toxic stress and improving restorative justice initiatives.

This webinar reviewed school-based policing in the United States, associated harms on learning and development, and the school-to-prison pipeline. Panelists discussed youth-led, physician, and community-supported efforts to advocate for removal of SROs from Chicago Public Schools, as well as action-items for a variety of sectors–including healthcare practitioners, social services, and education–who wish to support these efforts.