Senn High School's Historic Vote
Photo Credit: By Klio0701 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47365684
Yesterday several REP group members witnessed Senn High’s Local School Council (LSC)’s monumental vote to remove School Resource Officers (SROs) from the high school. The four-hour meeting included intense debate and incredibly moving statements from students, parents, staff and community members. Current and former Senn students made statements opposing SROs in their school with clarity and conviction -the only public comments in support of SROs were from prior administrative staff. We urge you to listen to the LSC meeting once the recording is posted as it was an incredible testament to the power of student organizing and activism.
As a valued community partner and participant in joint programming, Senn High is an integral part of Peirce. Parents from Peirce REP group were galvanized to participate in the campaign to remove SROs to stand in solidarity with Senn High Students. In letters to Senn High LSC to advocate for the removal of the SROs parents mentioned the following key reasons: failure to address egregious deficiencies identified in the City of Chicago Inspector General’s report in 2018 and the 2019 consent decree, the unequivocal data showing the lack of improvement in safety as a result of SROs, and the disproportionate harm caused to Black and Brown students, and diverse learners on IEPs.
Senn High LSC’s vote for removal of SROs follows similar actions taken recently at Northside College Prep Academy, Lane Tech College Prep and Mather High School. We recognize these issues are complicated but we remain committed to the advancement of racial justice and will continue to hold our leaders and elected representatives accountable for their actions. We believe strongly in achieving these goals by sharing and uplifting the voices of those who have been marginalized and working together towards justice. Below is a summary of the vote taken by the Senn High’s LSC to “retain School Resource Officers for SY20-21.”
In closing, we ask that REP group members and allies collectively “call-in” and continue the focus on furthering the anti-racism work we do in the Peirce and surrounding community.
SENN LSC MEMBERS 2019-2020 The votes are in response to the following motion: Senn Votes to RETAIN the SRO program. A “nay” vote is a vote to remove SROs.
Mary P. Beck, Principal : Yay
Toyleane Bolton, Parent : Yay
Andrea "Gina" Eshu, Parent : Yay
David Gregg, Teacher : Nay
Muhammad Kahn, Student : Abstain*
Kevin Kaufman, Parent: Nay
Vassiliki Kouchoukos, Parent: Yay
Joe Lev, Teacher: Nay
Nancy Lewis, Community : Nay
Mark Lupescu, Parent: Yay
Kimberly McMorris, Parent: Nay
Terrell Walsh, Non-Teacher Staff : Yay
Tom Welch, Community: Nay
*Muhammad Kahn the sole student on the LSC wanted to clarify that he was intending to vote “nay” but the phrasing of the question was confusing thus the abstain vote. We think it is important to elevate this voice and want to make sure we communicate this additional information. A summary of last night’s meeting can be found by reading the following article from Block Club Chicago: Senn Highschool Council Votes to Remove In-School Police