Schurz LSC seeks input on retaining or removing police; town hall meetings set
by BRIAN NADIG
The Schurz High School Local School Council will hold a series of virtual town hall meetings before it votes on whether to retain or remove police officers from the school’s campus.
Input from parents and community members will be sought on Wednesday, Aug. 5, from students on Thursday, Aug, 6, and faulty and staff members on Monday, Aug. 10. Each will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and information on how to access each meeting will be posted 30 minutes prior to the start on the Google Doc and calendar at www.schurzhs.org.
Input also can be given by taking a survey which is available on the school’s website or by sending an e-mail message to the LSC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The council is expected to vote on the school resource officer issue at its next regular monthly meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11.
The school’s website includes links to articles that members of the council have reviewed on the topic. It also lists “frequently asked questions” and answers.
According to a statement on the website, the school has two school resource officers who “are responsible for protecting, not policing our school. They do not get involved in discipline matters nor do we refer students to the police for issues outlined in our code of conduct. They do not supervise student behavior.”
The statement continues, “They help secure the building by periodically patrolling the halls throughout the day and are usually visible at dismissal time for students going to and from the bus stops. Their primary responsibility is to be available if there is a threat to our community while we are in school.
“The officers respond to administrator requests via school radio. They attend large school-wide events during the school day and work special events such as the homecoming dance.”
The school also has nine security guards who work on staggered shifts, and their responsibilities including monitoring the entrances and metal detectors.
The school also states that it received no complaints about the SROs and that it does not expect to receive additional funds for counselors, social workers and nurses if the SROs were to be removed, and Schurz would need to develop an alternative safety plan if the SROs are not assigned to the school, according to the statement.
The LSC’s Aug. 11 decision is not necessarily final.
“We can revisit our decision at any time throughout the year. In addition, the CPS board will be voting whether to continue the (SRO) program at its Aug. 27 meeting. So if we decide to retain our SROs, the board may vote to eliminate the program anyway,” the statement said.
On the Far Northwest Side, the LSC at Taft High School voted to retain its SROs, while the council at Northside Prep High School voted to remove its officers.
The Chicago Board of Education spends about $33 million annually on SROs, who last school year were assigned to 72 high schools.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said that LSCs should decide whether police officers should be stationed at their schools. In recent months school districts in some cities have voted to remove police following the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, which led to the arrest of four police officers in Minnesota.