Afternoon Edition: Aug. 21, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Black students and community activists have complained about having uniformed police officers in their schools. The school system’s own data backs up their claims.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

Happy Friday! This afternoon will be sunny, with a high near 89 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 65 degrees. It’ll be just as hot this weekend: Saturday will be sunny with a high near 88 degrees and Sunday’s high will be around 90.

Top story

At CPS high schools, a stark racial divide on when cops are called on students — and arrests

In eighth grade, Angelo McFarland and his friends were detained by Chicago police officers after a group of boys started an argument with them at school.

Nisa Perez, a special education student, was dragged out of a classroom by a cop for having headphones on in class, then reprimanded for resisting him.

Davione Jackson stood in a hallway at his school, watching officers respond to a typical teenage fight by pulling Tasers and grabbing students.

Destiny Bell saw an argument between officers, classmates and alumni outside the building after school escalate to where cops were shoving and tackling kids for loitering after final dismissal.

For years, Black students and community activists have complained about having uniformed police officers in their schools, saying the result is that school staff members target Black children, getting cops involved over routine disagreements, which leads to officers escalating those situations and criminalizing Black teenage behavior. They also say the police don’t know how to handle the needs of students in special education and shouldn’t be the ones to respond to a student’s crisis.

The school system’s own data backs that up, according to our analysis of Chicago Public Schools records that finds there’s a stark divide in how Black students and those in special education are treated compared to other students. Among our findings:

  • Students who attend a high school that has a Chicago police officer stationed inside are four times more likely to have the police called on them than kids at high schools that don’t have in-house cops.
  • Students at majority-Black high schools are almost three times more likely to have the police called on them than kids at schools with a student population that’s more heavily white than the citywide average.
  • Black girls face some type of intervention by school police officers at a rate eight times higher than white girls and nearly 14 times higher than Asian American girls.
  • Cops are called on children in special education more than three times more often than other students.
  • At high schools that have police officers inside, cops intervene more frequently at schools with majority-Black student populations than at those where Black students are a minority.
  • And student arrest data released for the first time by CPS this week shows that those police notifications have led to arrests of Black students at a rate that’s nearly times higher than white students, six times higher than Latino students and 38 times higher than Asian American students.
  • Of 11,527 student arrests made in Chicago over the past nine school years — including the shortened 2019-2020 year — 9,001 have been Black students. That’s 78.1%, even though Black students have accounted for 39% of CPS’ enrollment in that time, records show.

The “appalling” data at CPS largely mirrors the disparate rates of policing in schools nationally, said Pauline Lipman, an education policy studies professor and researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“All the research pretty much shows the same thing,” said Lipman, who has studied CPS policies for over two decades. “Police in schools actually don’t keep students safe.”

Read Nader Issa’s full analysis here.

More news you need

  1. The number of criminal defendants freed on bail and ordered to wear electronic-monitoring bracelets has soared this year in Cook County, including more than 1,000 people charged with murder, robbery or illegal possession of guns. CPD Supt. David Brown blames that trend for the steep rise in killings this year.
  2. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her City Council allies have rebuffed an effort by some aldermen to have Gov. J.B. Pritzker declare a state of emergency in the city, allowing the deployment of the Illinois National Guard to assist police. The proposal was referred to committee for further discussion and debate on a 30-17 vote.
  3. As public health officials announced nearly a fifth of all Illinois counties are at a coronavirus “warning level,” the state today reported 2,208 new cases of COVID-19. It’s the fifth time in the last two weeks that Illinois has amassed 2,000 cases or more in a single day.
  4. The Illinois State Board of Elections has booted Kanye West from the November ballot, ending his presidential run in the state after finding petitions he submitted last month did not contain the minimum number of signatures needed to appear. West needed at least 2,500 signatures from registered Illinois voters to get his name on the ballot; he filed only 1,200.
  5. Our Editorial Board made their pick for the 2020 presidential election today, endorsing Joe Biden: “In Biden and his vice presidential running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, we see a team — and an agenda — well worth voting for.” Read the full endorsement here.
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A bright one

Juice WRLD memorialized in murals downtown and in Englewood

Two artists are trying to keep the memory of Jarad Anthony Higgins — the rapper known as Juice WRLD — alive in his hometown of Chicago.

Artists Corey Pane and Chris Devins painted murals memorializing the rapper, who was 21 when he died last December from what was found to have been an accidental overdose of oxycodone and codeine after landing at Midway Airport.

Pane said he hopes the art — which he painted on a viaduct on West Hubbard Street by the Kennedy Expressway — will help bring together the rapper’s fans in celebration of his music, and said he’s heard some people have traveled hours to see the mural. “When they go to the mural, it’s almost like bringing him back to life and bringing his spirit back to life,” said Pane, 31. “If I can bring them that moment, then that’s amazing.”


Artist Corey Pane created this mural of Juice WRLD on a viaduct in the 800 block of West Hubbard Street near the Kennedy Expressway.


Pane said he wanted the portrait to be similar to the album cover and added “the metamorphosis of a butterfly” to symbolize Juice WRLD’s legacy in death, “becoming something even bigger.”

Miles south of his work on Hubbard Street, Devins painted his own tribute to Juice WRLD on a building in Englewood. Devins said he was “floored” when he heard “Legends Never Die,” which came out in July, and thought, “I’ve got to do something about this guy.

“I try to highlight positive things that come up out of the community of the South Side and Chicago in general,” the local artist said. “A lot of times, we’re focusing on some of the negatives that happen in Chicago.”

This Englewood mural portrays the rapper with wings and a halo, a nod to him being “amongst the angels,” said Devins.

Check out the full story from Madison Savedra for more mural photos.

From the press box

The first Cubs-White Sox Crosstown Classic series of the year begins tonight at Wrigley Field. The Sox, who are on a five-game winning streak, are eager to face the North Siders, Daryl Van Schouwen reports. The clubs play Friday and Saturday at 7:15 p.m. and Sunday at 1:20 p.m. Marquee Sports Network and NBC Sports Chicago will carry all three games.

Now that he knows his team will have the fourth pick in the NBA Draft, Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas has to adjust to scouting players in a virtual world, writes Joe Cowley.

Bears rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson is ready to fight for a starting job, writes Jason Lieser.

The Sky will play the Indiana Fever Saturday at 4 p.m. on WCIU-26.2 and CBS Sports Network. 

And drivers will finally start their engines at the Indianapolis 500 at noon Sunday on NBC-5.

Your daily question ☕

What’s on your list of things to do before the summer’s over?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: If you’ve been watching the DNC this week, what’s been your favorite (or least favorite) thing about the virtual format? Here’s what some of you said…

“I like it better than the normal way… I liked the one-on-one feeling… seeing and hearing people personally showing their state’s virtues and putting real faces on a multitude of issues that we as a country have to confront and deal with. Way better than normal.” — Patsy Johnson

“The roll call! It was so great to see each state and territory highlighted for the unique land and people that they are. I’m stuck (safe) inside, but it felt like taking a cross-country trip and then some. I hope they do that every year.” — Cheryl Wisniewski

“AOC and Michelle Obama were the highlights.” — Dellie Willis

“I liked the speeches without all the craziness in the venue. I thought it much more to the point. It moved without all the extras.” — Betty Eckman Brockman

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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