On January 24, POWER-PAC parent leaders Felipa Mena and Rosalva Nava provided a workshop, ‘Yes to Counselors, No to Cops: Moving Beyond Police in Schools’ at the ‘Watching the Watchers: Strategies to Resist Police Violence Conference’, co-organized by one of our partners, Project NIA. The parents’ workshop addressed ideas for reducing the dependence on police in Chicago Public Schools and cutting back on the numbers of school-based arrests. The parents shared examples of what other districts across the country are doing to limit the role of cops in schools.
POWER-PAC’s participation in this event was part of their citywide Elementary Justice Campaign: Redirecting the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Through the campaign, parents are working with the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Police Department to reduce violence in schools and to change the prison-like culture of too-many Chicago public schools. The campaign was launched 11 years ago out of low-income parents own experiences with their children being suspended and/or pushed out of school. Since its inception, parent leaders have won significant changes in the Chicago Public Schools’ Student Code of Conduct, strengthening and deepening restorative justice philosophy, policy, and practice.