Chicago Teachers Union Members March To Demand Chicago Public Schools Defund Police, Fund Restorative Practices In Schools

CTU protest
Photo credit (Chicago Teachers Union)

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – Parents, teachers and students joined a caravan protest Saturday morning to demand the divestment of the Chicago Police Department and the removal of police in schools.

The caravan protest, organized by the Chicago Teachers Union and livestreamed on Facebook, started at 10:30 a.m. at two South Side schools and convened in Gage Park for a rally that featured speeches by teachers, parents and other supports. The group then drove or walked up north, chanting and singing their demands.

“We want freedom, freedom; all these racist officers, we don’t need them, need them,” the group sang.

Yes, we’re the mighty mighty union but keeping it -- we’re fighting for the people. Students, families, communities. This is not a moment. It’s a movement. #CopsOutCPS #CounselorsNotCops #PoliceFreeSchools #BlackLivesMatter

— ChicagoTeachersUnion (@CTULocal1) June 6, 2020

The gathering was the second Chicago protest so far calling for CPS to defund CPD in schools and follow other cities like Minneapolis and Portland in doing so.

CTU wants city money that goes to officers in schools to instead fund restorative justice supports, trauma services, and hundreds of desperately needed nurses, counselors and social workers.  

The city spent about $33 million to fund officers in CPS schools and the police department takes up 37 percent of the city’s corporate fund, according to the city’s 2020 budget overview. Currently, 72 out of 93, or 77%, of CPS high schools have school resources officers. Local school councils at all 72 voted to keep the officers this school year.

“Those funds could instead have funded more than 65 additional sustainable community schools that provide desperately needed student services,” CTU said in a statement.

The protesters’ demands were echoed by alderman and grassroots organizations also calling to defund the police and deliver more resources to Black and Brown students in CPS schools.

A visual is sometimes very effective as an explanation. CPD takes the biggest piece of the pie but people continue to feel unsafe. To feel protected we need to meer the needs of people. Housing, jobs, mental health and support services are some things that we should try.

— Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez -- (@RossanaFor33) June 6, 2020

“Our unity right now — among educators, families, students, alumni and communities — can transform our schools for the better," CTU said.

The CTU demands are the following:

  • Cancel CPD contract with CPS
  • Fund restorative practices in all schools
  • Fund social workers and student support personnel for every school
  • Support the Civilian Police Accountability Council
  • Support the Right to Recovery legislative package
  • Work with grassroots groups and the CTU to create sustainable community schools across the district

However, Lightfoot said Friday that the city has no plans to end the contract with the police. Despite her rigidity, union members plan to bring the campaign more attention with the march and social media posts to make sure the mayor hears their pleas.