Life During Wartime: 8% White Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Spending on Security, Police and Metal Detectors

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) already have armed cops in schools; and metal detectors; and cameras; and resource officers; and off-duty cops…

In response to the massacre in Newtown, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said, ““The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said at a news conference in Washington. LaPierre also called on Congress to act immediately “to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school in this nation.”

Police officers in schools? What if a city in America, whose demographics currently look like what a potential future America might look like, offers a glimpse into a world where police are in every classroom?


Chicago.


A city that is roughly 33 percent white, 33 percent black and 33 percent Hispanic offers a public school system of 400,000+ students that is 41 percent black, 44 percent Hispanic and 8 percent white.


It’s a glimpse into the type of demographic the managerial elite of the Disingenuous White Liberal (DWL) variety hope to replicate across America — of course, their children attend private schools, free from the burden of unruly black children.


What is life like inside the Chicago Public School (CPS) system? Well… it’s a low-level security prison [Student and Teacher Safety in Chicago Public Schools: The Roles of Community Context and School Social Organization, University of Chicago, May 2011]:

  …metal detectors, which are present throughout CPS high schools, greet students upon entering; folding tables corral students at the main entrance and at informal security “checkpoints” throughout hallways; folding metal gates are pulled across entrances to stairwells and padlocked. There is a constant police presence outside and inside the school.

And you wonder why white parents fled to the suburbs or send their children to private schools; these are the conditions that black and brown children create in public schools, necessitating extreme measures to prevent violence in the high schools of Chicago. When it happens, administrators are baffled, considering the precautions taken to ensure a somewhat peaceful environment [2 wounded in Chicago school shooting, 4/11/2007, USA TODAY]:

 As two teens recovered from bullet wounds, authorities tried to determine how one of them got a 9 mm handgun past a school’s metal detectors and into a science classroom where the gun accidentally discharged.  

 “How the weapon got into the building obviously is a main concern for us,” said Michael Vaughn, a spokesman for Chicago Public Schools. Students are required to go through metal detectors at the school’s main entrances, he said. School administrators indicated the teen who brought the gun to school arrived later in the school day, Vaughn said.  

But students are supposed to be screened any time they enter the building, he said. School officials planned to interview the students involved and review footage from the school’s extensive surveillance camera system, Vaughn said. Additional security measures would be used to help screen students at the building’s entrances, he said.

Now do you understand why the CPS system has so few white kids? Now do you understand why the CPS system must exert a not insignificant portion of its yearly budget on maintaining a police presence in all the high schools? [Chicago Public Schools Could Cut Cops In Budget Crisis, 7/6/2011, Huffington Post]:

For the last three years, two uniformed Chicago police officers have been stationed at each of the city’s roughly 100 public high schools. 

But as the Chicago Public Schools stare down the barrel of a $700 million budget deficit, every dollar of spending is being called into question. With the police department now demanding more than three times what CPS has been paying them for the officers in schools, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, the district plans to take a much closer look at the program. 

Over the weekend, the paper wrote that CPS has been paying the police department around $8 million a year for the officers. But the Chicago Police Department has long insisted that that wasn’t nearly enough: in fact, they argue, police supervision costs more like $25 million a year. 

With Rahm Emanuel’s election as mayor, his newly-appointed schools team revisited the question and found the CPD’s claim to be reasonable. It agreed that the full cost should be $25 million a year — and also agreed to pay the difference from the last three years. 

That means CPS is on the hook for around $70 million to the police force this year, the Sun-Timeswrites.

Why the NRA is so reticent on the matters of the true nature of school violence (and gun violence) in America is beyond me… why they can’t mention the true reason behind the rising cost of policing the increasingly diverse United States is a testament to the ineffectual nature of “conservative” resistance. 

Of course, that’s not the only cost to the CPS system. In the book “Gun Violence: The Real Cost” by Philip J. Cook , we learn on p. 88-89 just how “low-level” the security presence in the 8 percent white, 86 percent brown/black CPS really is (perhaps the more tactical word would be… isn’t):

Consider, for example, the security expenditures made by the Chicago pubic school system. Each of the city’s 69 public high schools has a walk-through metal detector that cost between $2,500 and $3,000 to purchase. The Chicago pubic school system also employs 994 full0-time security personnel who each cost the system around $25,000 per year, in addition to 445 off-duty Chicago police officers who work part-time for the schools at an annual cost of around $15,000 and 140 full-time police officers from the Chicago Police Department’s Youth Division who are permanently assigned to the public schools at an annual cost of around $67,000. The Chicago pubic school system thus spends around $41 million each year for school security personnel, in addition to the costs of purchasing and maintaining metal detectors. While some of these preventive measures would stay in place even if gun misuse was eliminated, since knives and box-cutters will still pose a threat to student safety, the level of expenditures would almost surely be lower in a world without gun violence. 

Now do you understand why the CPS system has so few white students? Adam Lanza wasn’t a student or an educator at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut — the almost exclusively non-white students in the CPS system require an increasingly high-level and sophisticated security measures to maintain a semblance of peace and discipline.

Life During Wartime: A Glimpse in the War Zone known as Chicago Public Schools

Chicago and the quality of life found in the CPS system represents the future for all of America, unless brave men and women dare stand and speak a truth that members of the NRA and its executive board are fearful of ever being exposed to: the level of expenditures on security measures in the CPS system would almost surely be lower in a nation without brown or black people;  the level of expenditures on security measures in the entire nation would almost surely be lower without brown or black people.

At least J.P Morgan and the federal government are providing grants to the CPS system to combat the violence caused by black and brown children, as opposed to passing the cost on to the already beleaguered taxpayer of Cook County and the state of Illinois [Chicago Public Schools Focus on Security, Chicago Defender, 1-27-2010]

During the 2008-09 school year there were 116,000 incidents recorded at CPS. Incidents range from a shouting match between students to a food fight in the cafeteria. 

But the total number of “serious misconduct” incidents, which usually means an occurrence so bad, such as violence, that the student was either suspended or expelled, was 17,000, according to Shields. 

There is a minimum of two Chicago police officers assigned to each high school.And like Shields, who spent 23 years with CPD, Ron Huberman, chief executive officer for CPS, is also a former Chicago cop. 

But CPS does not rely solely on police assistance when it comes to security for its 408,000 students, said Shields. It relies more on the 2,000 security guards on CPS payroll – with a starting salary of $26,000 – and the 6,200 cameras installed throughout the school district. There are an average of seven security guards at each high school. 

And while the bulk of its security budget is spent on personnel costs, Shields, who earns $150,000 a year, said long term plans include using more cameras.“Video surveillance is a lot more useful because security guards can only be in one place at a time. Cameras are helping us immensely. Plus, cameras can capture activity in the community, which is where most school incidents occur,” he said.J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. awarded CPS a $2.5 million grant, which will be used to purchase more cameras. 

“J.P. Morgan is the first major corporation to step for security at CPS and we thank them,” Shields said. “We are also reaching out to other corporations for help.”Huberman said its security efforts are paying off. 

“There were 143 CPS students shot last school year and this school year there were only 102, so violence incidents are down,” he said. “And none of these shootings took place on school grounds.” 

CPS received $30 million in federal stimulus money to combat violence and Huberman added that among the things he plans to do is to make traveling to and from school more safer for students. 

“We plan to spend $2 million to develop a safe passage program to make sure students are safe when traveling to and from school,” he told the Defender. 

Additionally, CPS will award a $10 million contract to a community organization to assist it with conflict resolutions strategies, which could include in-school suspensions rather than at-home suspensions. The final $18 million will be used to create a Culture of Calm program at designated schools identified to have high incidents of violence. There are 38 schools targeted for the new program, many of them are on the South Side.

The South Side of Chicago? That area is almost entirely black, where the descendants of the “great migration” of black people from the Southern states reside… the joys of “Manifest Destruction”…

But the NRA won’t make any noise on this subject, nor will anyone on the “right”.

Instead, we live in a nation ruled by the radical left, who publish white papers like this: [The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve Research-based Proposals To Strengthen Elementary And Secondary Education In The Chicago Public Schools, Issued by the Chicago Teachers Union, February 2012]: 

Chicago’s Students Deserve Social Justice SEGREGATED SCHOOLING

CPS schools operate in an environment of intense segregation, a culmination of decades of racist public policies and market forces that have segregated Chicago’s communities and neighborhoods. Within CPS, 69% of all African American students (and 42% of Latinos) go to schools that are “intensely segregated” — schools that have more than 90% of their student body composed of the same ethnicity. 

Chicago Public Schools remains one of the urban school systems that “only a few percentage points from an experience of total apartheid.” 

More than three-fourths of CPS students come from families who are eligible for free lunch, which for a family of four means earning less than $30,000 a year. 

Nearly half of all African American students (71,500) and one-third of all Latino students (58,700) go to a school where more than 90% of the students qualify for free lunch. Only 3.3% of white students go to such schools. White students typically attend schools where fewer than 25% of students are free-lunch eligible. 

This is the case in more than two-thirds of schools with a majority of white students. 

THE CRIMINALIZATION OF STUDENTS

These pressures for test results manifest not only in instructional and managerial practices but often in punitive measures directed against students and teachers. Nationwide, minorities are suspended at substantially higher rates than white students, and this discipline gap has increased over time. 

56 CPS had the highest suspension rate of all big-city school districts in 2008, with 13% of students suspended. One out of every four Black male students was suspended. Black males comprised nearly the majority of suspensions despite being only a quarter of the CPS student population.  Police involvement in CPS also disproportionately impacts black students. 

Of the 5,574 juveniles arrested on CPS grounds in 2010, 74% were African American. These issues are prevalent at charter schools as well. Unwarranted punitive measures, expulsions and “counseling out” of disruptive students are common at schools run by private management organizations. 

When standardized testing results determine the relative value of students, and schools run by private operators are unaccountable to the public, these schools push out troubled low-performing students. 

Punitive policies against the most disadvantaged students, standards of education prescribed for others by those in power, and segregated educational opportunities are symptomatic of corporate-run public education, whose agenda is disempowering working-class communities. This strategy of educating students is inequitable and does not improve learning. 

An oft-referenced model of school improvement is Finland, yet policymakers fail to grasp the fundamental goal of Finland’s educational reforms: to establish educational equity for all students. 

What would it cost to have equitable treatment of our children? In our society students segregated by socio-economic status do not have equal access to education. Merely equalizing resources between the children of the haves and have-nots is insufficient. Students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds require additional support services to supplement their learning and emotional growth. 

Yet CPS does not even attempt this ‘nominal’ equity. Bringing real equity into the education system will require a depth of commitment and resources that is totally outside the scope of CPS’ current “reform” agenda. Nearly 60 years since the famous Brown vs. Board of Education decision to end racist inequities in education, CPS and other public school systems are moving in the opposite direction. Schools are becoming more segregated and education less equitable, often under the guise of “closing the achievement gap.” Our students do not deserve this!

Actually, the students of the CPS system (of which only 8 percent are white) do deserve everything they get, especially the extreme security measures necessary for creating a safe environment for the teachers brave enough to babysit the 85-87 percent black or brown students of the CPS system. 

The reason segregation exists in Chicago is powerfully illustrated by the reality of the CPS system, a point the NRA can’t make when addressing gun violence in America; that a mentally disturbed white kid killed a bunch of kids in Newtown has become the casus belli against private ownership of legal firearms in America, while the conditions that black and brown kids create the CPS system is a crisis that only DWLs care about when writing long articles bemoaning how police are only necessary in non-white schools. 

This is America in 2012. 

It won’t last forever. 

All it takes is good men and women to say “enough.” 

If not, the conditions of the CPS system are coming to a school district near you (at least we know no further cuts will be made to the security measures in place in Chicago Public Schools). 

And your guns will be confiscated in the process.  

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