ACLU wants more mental health professionals and fewer police in CPS schools

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Three groups are making bold claims based on data they received from public records requests filed with the Cincinnati Police Department and Cincinnati Public Schools.

The ACLU of Ohio, the Young Activists Coalition (YAC), and the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice say information shows school resource officers in the CPS district “enforce racially disparate discipline that perpetuate evil and strengthening the school-to-prison pipeline”.

Results for the 2021-2022 school year show that Black CPS students are:

  • 21 times more likely to be placed in an alternative placement center
  • six times more likely to receive a suspension for not attending school
  • eight times more likely to be expelled without education
  • five times more likely to face emergency removal

“The data confirms that the Cincinnati Public Schools Disciplinary and Policing Program has horrific effects on student well-being,” the ACLU states. “Removing children from the learning environment is yet another way black, brown, and disabled children are drawn into negative interactions with law enforcement at a young age.”

The ACLU of Ohio also released a poll showing that most parents and recent graduates surveyed (400 people) do not support the contract between the CPS and the Cincinnati Police Department and want reform. The parents were interviewed.

Forty-six percent of parents and 41% of recent graduates trust police in schools, but 52% of parents and 58% of recent graduates were neutral or distrustful of police in schools.

Fifty-three percent of parents and 65% of recent graduates do not support the current contract between CPS and CPD.

Forty-five percent of parents and 60% of recent graduates want to change the contract to reform guidelines on use of force, training and accountability.

Changes desired by the groups

  • Renegotiation of the CPD-CPS contract
  • Less police intervention
  • Hiring more counselors and mental health professionals

This is not a new problem, says YAC President Bella Gordo. “Over the past two years, YAC has continually educated the district about the racially highly disparate discipline within our schools through direct appeals, protests, and many other methods.

“We will not rest until the district fully commits to the fight against racism by replacing exclusionary discipline with restorative practices and ending the relationship between the Cincinnati Police Department and Cincinnati Public Schools,” she said.

The ACLU says it hopes the CPS will make changes, pointing to Superintendent Iranetta Wright’s track record in restaurant practices in Detroit.

Cincinnati Public Schools Statement:

Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) is aware of the disparities that exist, both nationally and locally, in the way students of color are disciplined. While our district has improved its student code of conduct, implemented restorative justice programs, and increased mental health support staff, we recognize that there is still work to be done to further reduce these disparities in our schools. . “Part of my first 100 days as superintendent is to assess our existing programs and supports. Student discipline has been one of the main areas of focus,” said CPS Superintendent Iranetta Wright. “We need to put more emphasis on implementing and monitoring our restorative justice program in each school, integrating more social and emotional learning lessons into the program, better leveraging our mental health professionals and our social workers in each school and participate in joint training with the SROs. to ensure that they better understand their role in our schools. With increased efforts in these areas, I believe we will reduce these disparities here at CPS. In addition to school discipline, there are other environmental aspects that impact a child’s life and can have devastating consequences; The CPS believes that labeling School Resource Officers (SROs) as the root cause of a “school to prison” pipeline does not address the multiple needs and challenges that occur outside of school. It should also be noted that SROs (employed by the Cincinnati Police Department) are not responsible for school discipline, including emergency dismissals, suspensions, and/or expulsions.

Cincinnati Public Schools

In addition to school discipline, there are other environmental aspects that impact a child’s life and can have devastating consequences; The CPS believes that labeling School Resource Officers (SROs) as the root cause of a “school to prison” pipeline does not address the multiple needs and challenges that occur outside of school. It should also be noted that SROs (employed by the Cincinnati Police Department) are not responsible for school discipline, including emergency dismissals, suspensions, and/or expulsions.

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