This Chicago School Resource Officer Ban Is Opening Up New Possibilities

empty desks in front of a window with a radiator
Zain Murdock
April 9, 2024

In 2023, a groundbreaking study noted that restorative practices dropped school suspensions from 49,708 annually to 10,000. Now, there’s even more good news.

February brought a Board of Education vote to ban all school resource officers (SROs) by June 27. Those officers are salaried by the school district but trained and hired by the Chicago Police Department. 

The plan is to replace them with holistic school safety, including restorative justice practices like prioritizing conflict resolution over punishment.

The argument primarily revolved around budgeting and safety. Each SRO costs $180,000, which could go to other resources to create a better learning environment. However, the concept of that better environment led to the question: Will students be safer with or without SROs?

The school district will still use CPD for arrival, dismissal, and emergencies. And schools still have over 1,400 non-CPD security officers.

 Children, especially Black and disabled children, are uniquely vulnerable to violence. But their lives have been at risk every day, with police criminalizing them at school. They deserve to feel safe with adults invested in their well-being and safety.

Chicago organizers have arrived at this moment, and there’s even more potential to redefine justice and safety. Now, we’ll see what can happen with something new.