Coalition calls for new approach at CPS
On Monday, June 25, at noon, more than 100 members of the High HOPES Coalition, including Chicago Public Schools students, parents, educators, faith, leaders, and youth with disabilities, will hold a “Tug of War” and “Die in” action outside of City Hall. Coalition members will rally in support of restorative justice and against the Chicago Public School's focus on suspension and expulsion. The coalition will deliver letters from Chicago Aldermen to the mayor's office calling for CPS to reduce punitive discipline and shift resources toward Restorative Justice programs which are proven to improve student performance and reduce violence.
In 2006, CPS officially ended its reliance on zero tolerance and claimed to adopt the philosophy of Restorative Justice. However, the system has yet to implement real change. Last year, more than 40,000 students were suspended, the highest rate in the nation. Numerous studies have shown that punitive discipline policies lead to drop out which increases youth violence. Restorative Justice Programs use counseling and support to give practitioners a chance to address the root problem and provide guidance rather than harsh discipline. For more than a year, the High HOPES Campaign has attempted to meet and dialog with the mayor and leadership of Chicago Public Schools, but CPS has refused to make any commitments to substantive change.
High HOPES (Healing Over the Punishment of Expulsions and Suspensions) is a coalition of Access Living, Blocs Together, Community Renewal Society, Enlace Chicago, ONE (Organization of the North East), Southwest Youth Collaborative, Trinity United Church of Christ. The coalition represents students, youth with disabilities, parents, educators, and faith and community groups. The group will be joined by Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno and other supporters from the City Council.
Monday, June 25, 2012 at 12:00– 12:45 p.m.
State of Illinois Building, 100 West Randolph, Chicago – across the street from Chicago City Hall.