Advocates say disproportionate number of black kids arrested at Chicago schools

January 26, 2012

By Linda Paul

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(WBEZ/Linda Paul)
Tyler Cannon was in his school lunch room when a food fight broke out. He was one of the kids arrested.

If you look at all Chicago arrests of juveniles in 2010, a fifth occurred on Chicago Public Schools property. That’s way too many arrests, according to a report out from Project NIA, a Chicago-based advocacy group that works against incarceration of kids. 

The Chicago police department data that NIA crunched found 5,574 juvenile arrests on CPS property in 2010.

Of those arrests, about three-quarters involved African-American youth, even though black students comprise 45 percent of the school population.

The researchers found about a third of all arrests were for simple battery. The next highest categories were drug abuse violations and disorderly conduct.

Project NIA’s report calls for CPS to “redirect resources away from policing” and says CPS should beef up so-called restorative justice programs, which can help resolve problems before the police become involved.

In a statement, CPS said it will be reviewing the report, and getting feedback on ways to provide safe environments for students at all schools.