In an effort to end the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline,” Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx hosted a meeting Wednesday to discuss alternatives to school arrests with dozens of stakeholders.
The meeting included 40 representatives from Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Teachers Union, the Chicago Police Department, University of Chicago Crime Lab, Cook County Public Defender’s Office, Office of the Lieutenant Governor, and the Fraternal Order of Police, the state’s attorney’s office said in a statement.
“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office acknowledges that alternatives to court involvement, such as community based social services are far more effective measures for addressing behavioral issues,” the statement said. “We hope that this discussion will be the first of many steps in ensuring that our schools are thriving environments for all students.”
Foxx said in the statement that a “safe environment” needs to be fostered at schools to allow students to learn and grow.
“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office wants to partner with law enforcement and school districts to ensure that we are not filing cases against children for minor offenses that occur at school,” Foxx said.
Studies by several groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have found in the past decade that school arrests have overwhelmingly targeted black students. In Chicago, research conducted by Loyola University and Project NIA in 2013 found 75 percent of the students arrested in the city’s public schools were black.
Roseanna Ander, founding executive director of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab, said in the statement that she was “honored to partner with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office on this important convening.
“It is imperative that young people in Chicago receive the schooling and support they need to be successful, and that the education and law enforcement stakeholders here today continue to work together to eliminate justice system responses where they do not belong,” Ander said.