3 of 4 people arrested at CPS are Black, even as arrests plummet to fewer than 500
The data released Friday comes during a heated debate about the role of police officers in Chicago Public Schools.
By Nader Issa@NaderDIssa Aug 14, 2020, 4:25pm CDT
Youth activists protest having police in schools outside Chicago Board of Education President Miguel del Valle’s home in Belmont Cragin in June. Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file photo
About three of every four people arrested at a Chicago Public Schools property over the past nine years have been Black, even as arrests have plummeted in that time to only a fraction of what they were in the 2011-2012 school year, new data released Friday by the district shows.
The total number of arrests made during the day on school grounds during the academic year, 464, is down significantly from 2012, when 3,485 arrests were made.
More than 73 percent of those arrested were African American, the data shows. That rate is slightly higher than in 2012, but has largely remained steady over the past several years.
The report released by CPS says not all of those arrested were students. Some arrests included may have been entirely unrelated to school events or dealing with someone who has no connection to the school. It remains unclear how many students have been arrested at CPS over the years.
“While the district has made substantial progress in reducing the number of arrests on school properties by 72 percent since , we remain fully committed to addressing disparities and will continue to work with school communities to create a holistic student-centered approach to school safety,” CPS spokeswoman Emily Bolton said in statement.
More than 65% of those arrested were male, CPS said. The average age was 15.4.
CPS said the data was provided by the Chicago Police Department. The arrest were located at a school address but “does not necessarily indicate the arrest was based on an incident that occurred at the school or connected to the school,” the report said. While the arrests include people 21 or younger, that “does not necessarily indicate that the individual arrested was an active student or has a connection to the school,” the report said.
The arrests took place during the academic year between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.
The arrest numbers add another layer to a complex debate on policing in public schools that has grown into one of the most pressing issues at CPS. Protests against the presence of officers in schools grew last year when the district agreed to a $33 million contract with the Chicago Police Department — which has since been reduced to $15 million for the upcoming year — and again increased during social justice protests this summer.
This is the first time arrest records at CPS have been made public despite the August 2019 agreement with the Chicago Police Department mandating daily reports be kept on crimes and arrests at CPS schools and a monthly report be sent from CPD to CPS detailing those incidents.
Jadine Chou, the district’s chief of safety and security, was grilled by aldermen last monthwhen she said at a City Council hearing that the district doesn’t know how many students are arrested in its buildings.
“That’s definitely something we have to do a better job of understanding,” Chou said, drawing Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd) to say “this seems like a lot of critical data that is missing.”