Community, Not Cops

This month, COFI and POWER-PAC IL were proud to join grassroots organizers, student and parent groups, education advocates, and other members of the Dignity in Schools Campaign in National Week of Action Against School Pushout. This year’s theme, Community Not Cops, envisions a foundation of culturally responsive adults in schools to address student needs and conflicts in a safe and caring manner, while promoting positive learning environments. POWER-PAC IL parent leaders strongly believe, alongside members of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, that removing police from schools is crucial in realizing this vision.

To honor this year’s theme, Elementary Justice Campaign parent leaders statewide hosted and participated in important conversations the week of October 16-24. As part of the national launch event, leader Valerie Carroll spoke poignantly about her experiences, emphasizing the power of POWER-PAC IL parents to reach, connect, and mobilize with other parents about the importance of removing police from schools. Check it out starting around the 1:01 hour mark.

Elementary Justice Campaign leaders and COFI organizing staff pose for a photo after a successful CPS Student Code of Conduct training Aurora parent leaders and community members gather at the end of an event about mental health, bullying, and restorative justice

On Wednesday, October 20th, Chicago Elementary Justice leaders Charlene Campbell, Dexter Leggin, and Lynn Morton (pictured above left with COFI staff) hosted a virtual Parent to Parent Training on the CPS Student Code of Conduct in English. And later in the day, Aurora Padres Líderes en Acción held an in-person bilingual community conversation about bullying, mental health, and restorative justice (pictured above right) – with powerful testimonies from leaders Jeselen Banda and Marisol Luna.

On October 22nd, Parents United for Change in East St. Louis held a virtual community conversation to discuss school absence and truancy policies and practices that do not reflect the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and are instead pushing children out. Parent leaders are banding together to demand change.

It was a phenomenal week! Thank you to parent leaders for working around the clock to ensure the success of Week of Action this year. While the work is far from done, your tireless efforts inspire all of us to keep fighting the good fight in removing police from schools, promoting restorative justice practices, and increasing social emotional resources for students. Congratulations to all.