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Chicago schools need fewer cops and more psychologists and counselors

Neuroscience tells us that children’s brains can recover from trauma. Restorative justice practices provide such treatment. 

A new report from the Inspector General says police need to do more to address problems in the school resource officer program. Sun-Times files

Since 2011, John Marshall Law students have assisted students at Chicago Public Schools to settle disputes through restorative justice practices.

CPS students learn how to help manage trauma and attain peaceful attitudes.

The law students find that the CPS security guards who have received training in restorative practices are better able to handle delicate situations. They know the students well and encourage them every day.

The experience with police officers who are in the schools is often the opposite.

The police officers have not been trained in restorative practices. The CPS students need encouragement. They need help. School may be the safest place they are all day. In many neighborhoods they cannot play outside or in the parks.

Neuroscience tells us that children’s brains can recover from trauma. Restorative practices provide such treatment. Money is needed to provide social workers, psychologists, counselors in the schools.

Teachers also suffer from secondary trauma in schools where their students live in poverty, segregation and fear. The students and the teachers will benefit from professional help and restorative justice in Chicago Public Schools and not from more police officers.

Chicago has a new mayor who has already proved herself to be a good listener. Now is the time to act.

Professor Michael P. Seng and Judge Sheila M Murphy (Ret.)

Co-Directors Restorative Justice Project

John Marshall Law School

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Shift toward renewable energy best investment for America

Transitioning away from fossil fuels toward more renewable energy is sometimes deemed a “job-killer.”

At first glance, transition periods may look like short-term job loss, but the flipside is enormous job growth.

The Brookings Institute recently issued a report summarizing, “The transition to the clean energy economy will primarily involve 320 unique occupations spread across three major industrial sectors: clean energy production, energy efficiency, and environmental management.”

The Department of Energy’s 2017 report revealed that solar energy was employing more workers than the traditional coal, gas, and oil industries combined.

Pricing carbon pollution can accelerate the transition and stimulate the economy. The bipartisan “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act HR763” is an effective policy to significantly reduce carbon emissions.

The ultimate job-killer would be a country crippled by climate intensified floods, droughts, extreme weather events, agriculture losses, wild fires, etc.

Let’s invest in America’s long-term success, a green economy.

Susan Atkinson, Durango, Colorado