Mather High School — attended by slain activist Caleb Reed — votes to remove police officers from school

Reed, a junior at Mather, was a student leader at Voices Of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) and a prominent voice in the push to remove officers from Chicago Public Schools. On Tuesday, the Mather LSC honored his wish, voting 6-4 to remove their school resource officers.

SHARE Mather High School — attended by slain activist Caleb Reed — votes to remove police officers from school
Mather High School, 5835 N. Lincoln Ave., voted Aug. 11, 2020, to removed their school resource officers.

Mather High School, 5835 N. Lincoln Ave., voted Aug. 11, 2020, to removed their school resource officers.

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Less than two weeks after Mather High School student and activist Caleb Reed was gunned down in West Rogers Park, the Local School Council at Mather voted to remove the police officers stationed at the North Side school.

Reed, a junior at Mather, was a student leader at Voices Of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) and a prominent voice in the push to remove Chicago police officers from Chicago Public Schools. On Tuesday, the Mather LSC honored his work, voting 6-4 to remove their school resource officers.

“We are more than pleased with the results,” said Electa Bay, a Mather grandparent. “This is an important and poignant victory, as we will be saying our final goodbyes to Caleb tomorrow at his funeral. Having SROs out of the school was part of Caleb’s legacy and it’s so beautiful to see that we accomplished that at his school.”

The Mather LSC held a town hall meeting ahead of the vote to hear testimonials from school community members. Derriona Ford, Reed’s girlfriend, was one of the students who spoke.

“Youth are telling you that we need more mental health and behavior health services and not police. Why wouldn’t you listen to us?,” asked Ford. “We are the one dealing with SROs day in and out and we need to you to hear us.”

Caleb Reed, a junior at Mather High School in West Ridge, speaks during a June 16, 2020, press conference outside City Hall about Chicago City Council legislation that would have terminated a $33 million contract between the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Public Schools.

Caleb Reed, a junior at Mather High School in West Ridge, speaks during a June 16, 2020, press conference outside City Hall about Chicago City Council legislation that would have terminated a $33 million contract between the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Public Schools.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Reed died Aug. 2 after being shot in broad daylight two days earlier in the 1900 block of West Granville Avenue.

He spoke at a rally in June calling on CPS to terminate their $33-million contract with the Chicago Police Department that placed officers in 72 of the district’s 93 high schools. The Board of Education narrowly voted to uphold the contract but later announced that they were slashing its budget to $15 million.

“My sophomore year of high school I was arrested for attending a basketball game because I didn’t have my ID,” Caleb said at the rally. “I sat in a police station for six hours. I knew it wasn’t right at all, but inside I was angry, confused.”

“One thing I’m here to say is I’m proud to be a Black young man,” Caleb said. “It’s not a good feeling to be labeled as dangerous or criminals. Because we’re not. ... No Black person should ever feel like this.”

Mather joins nine other schools that have elected so far to keep cops out of their buildings, according to VOYCE coordinator Maria Delgillo.

Those other schools are:

  • Roosevelt High School;
  • Northside College Prep;
  • Benito Juarez Community Academy;
  • Roberto Clemente Community Academy;
  • Lane Tech College Prep High School;
  • John Hancock High School;
  • Kelvyn Park High School;
  • Curie Metro High School; and
  • Uplift Community High School.

Contributing: Nader Issa

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