Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Brandon Johnson has signaled his agreement with the city’s Board of Education’s push to eliminate police officers from high schools. Despite the Chicago Police Department holding a $10.3 million contract with the city’s board of education, the board aims to terminate this agreement. Johnson, aligned with the board’s stance, disclosed that he supports the removal of police officers. Notably, a majority of the board members approving the previous year’s $10.3 million school resource officer contract have been replaced by Johnson’s appointees.
Highlighting the evolving narrative, Johnson expressed his backing for the Board of Education’s direction, emphasizing an intergovernmental agreement between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Police Department. The mayor underlined his lack of reservations about ending this agreement. Chicago Public School officials reportedly informed high school principals last month that police officers would not be present in the upcoming fall.
Mayor Johnson’s stance on police presence in schools has undergone notable shifts. Initially opposing officers on school grounds during his mayoral campaign, he later reversed his position post-inauguration, advocating for local school councils to decide on the presence of officers. However, his recent statements reveal another about-face on the matter.
In 2020, amid the George Floyd protests, the Chicago Teachers’ Union urged schools to eliminate police presence, advocating for redirecting funds from the $33 million CPS-CPD contract to restorative justice coordinators, social workers, nurses, trauma supports, and essential school programs. Recent reports suggested that the Chicago Board of Education aimed to strip Local School Councils, composed of parents, teachers, and students, of their authority to decide on having school resource officers. The upcoming summer may witness the board voting on whether to renew the contract with the CPD.