For nearly four years, Chicago Public Schools has employed intelligence analysts to quietly monitor the social media of more than 25,000 students across 24 schools. It’s all part of a pilot program to prevent gun and gang violence in its schools.
If the analysts and the school think a social media post of a student raises a red flag, they intervene. In the last four years, more than 700 CPS students have been called into interventions due to a social media post that may have included gang-related material.
The pilot, “Connect and Redirect to Respect,” was funded by a $2.2 million grant from the Department of Justice’s Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, which provides grants for violence prevention efforts in schools.
CPS says the program is necessary to ensure the safety of its students; critics argue the program's approach violates students’ right to privacy.
WBEZ and ProPublica Illinois conducted a review of more than 400 incidents between 2016-2018, and WBEZ education reporter Sarah Karp stops by the Morning Shift to break down the findings.