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Handcuffs in Hallways

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Police officers stationed in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) operate with little oversight, accountability, and specialized training—a practice that puts children at serious risk of being funneled into the criminal justice system, according to this report by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

Handcuffs in Hallways: The State of Policing in Chicago Public Schools comes amid growing national concern over the school-to-prison pipeline and recent investigations by federal officials and journalists that detail Chicago police misconduct with youth, especially those of color.

As the report details, School Resource Officers (SROs), or law enforcement officers permanently assigned to schools, are not required to undergo any specialized training for interacting with children. Moreover, SROs currently operate within CPS with little oversight or accountability for their actions. This has lead to poor outcomes for students, particularly students of color, impairing their ability to learn and develop, imperiling their civil rights, and increasing their likelihood of being swept into the criminal justice system.

The report concludes with recommendations urging CPS and the Chicago Police Department (CPD), in collaboration with community stakeholders, to define the role of SROs in the context of the educational mission of schools. 

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