CPD Out of CPS Panel: The Fight To End Police Brutality In Schools

On October 5th, activists held a “CPS, Safety, and Democracy” panel advocating the removal of CPD officers from Chicago Public Schools. The event was sponsored by Chicago DSA and was emceed by Dave Maher of CDSA’s Defund campaign.

Panelists included Pastor Lindsey Joyce of United Church of Rogers Park and the Institute for Christian Socialism, CPS teacher and parent Ariam Abraham of Police Free Schools, and CPS student organizer Catlyn Savado; the movement to replace school resource officers with nurses and mental health professionals has been largely student-led.

Registered nurse, CTU organizer, and CDSA member Dennis Kosuth also provided testimony. As he points out, while school nurses are a rarity in the city, police are a constant presence in CPS schools. Kosuth gave a harrowing account of a traumatized sixth grade student in need of help instead being brutally arrested by a CPD officer:

“I went into work one morning and this student had a fight with their sibling before going into school. Someone in the school had already called the police, so the student was very upset. And then the partner of the officer came in — within seconds, put handcuffs on this child and drug him out of the bathroom and out into the squad car. And this was a sixth grader.”

Kosuth went on to say that the child had already been traumatized by the police killing of their parent.

“I just couldn’t imagine the trauma added on top of trauma that this young person was going through having this experience.”

Kosuth, an active member of the Chicago Teachers Union, has been heartened by the union’s recent fights for better conditions for students, but insisted that their demands must connect with the broader movement.

“We have to, I think, link that to a struggle for a different kind of society that gets rid of capitalism, that fights to destroy a system which produces the racist inequities we see around us every day, and build a society that’s worth living in.”