The Rundown: Life in schools after the cops left

Plus, travel is booming despite high gas prices and airfare. Here’s what you need to know today.

A sign outside Gage Park High School's Peace Room, where students go to decompress and resolve conflicts. Chicago Sun-Times
A sign outside Gage Park High School's Peace Room, where students go to decompress and resolve conflicts. Chicago Sun-Times

The Rundown: Life in schools after the cops left

Plus, travel is booming despite high gas prices and airfare. Here’s what you need to know today.

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Hey there, it’s Thursday, and I’ve spent most of this heatwave burning through my watch lists on various streaming services. Let’s hope temperatures cool down before I run out of episodes of Under the Banner of Heaven on Hulu. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. As cops leave Chicago public schools, staff move toward a new model of helping students

The change is part of a larger effort by schools to move away from suspensions and arrests, and to conversations and peace circles. But replacing police in schools has proven to be complicated, report my colleagues Nader Issa from the Sun-Times and Sarah Karp from WBEZ.

Students and community activists have said for years that Black and Latino children are overly policed for routine disagreements and teenage behavior. Advocates have also said police don’t know how to handle the needs of students in special education and shouldn’t be the ones to respond to a student in crisis.

Over the past two years, the number of officers assigned to work inside Chicago schools has been cut by a third. In addition, high schools made significantly fewer calls to police for assistance with student behavior: New CPS data shows that during the first semester of the past school year, police responded 351 times — a 38% decrease from the last full in-person period before the pandemic, continuing a decade-long downward trend.

The change in police presence comes as many students are grappling with stress and trauma from the pandemic, with educators across the country reporting an increase in behavioral outbursts. [WBEZ]

2. As programs and funding diminished at a Chicago nonprofit, mayoral candidate Kam Buckner’s salary grew

As leader of World Sport Chicago, Buckner promised to give kids in “forgotten pockets” of the city “opportunities and chances to succeed and survive.”

But during his tenure, the nonprofit slowly dissolved, its finances diminished and money spent on programming for kids decreased. At the same time, documents show Buckner’s salary tripled in just four years before the organization was “involuntarily dissolved” by the state last year.

A Buckner spokesperson told WBEZ the mayoral candidate was brought on to help dissolve the organization, despite public comments from Buckner stating otherwise.

If elected mayor of Chicago, Buckner said one of his priorities is to stabilize the city’s long-troubled finances. [WBEZ]

3. Jan. 6 committee hearing focuses on the pressure Mike Pence faced to overturn the 2020 election

Today’s testimony centered around former President Donald Trump pressuring former Vice President Mike Pence not to count lawful electoral votes.

Witnesses disagreed over the wording of the 12th Amendment, which outlines the electoral vote counting process, but agreed the vice president cannot overturn the election.

Greg Jacob, Pence’s lawyer in 2020, said during his testimony that he first told the former vice president about the election certification process about a month before the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“There was no way that our framers … would ever have put one person, particularly not a person who had a direct interest in the outcome … in a role to have decisive impact on the outcome of the election,” Jacob said. [NPR]

4. Another rough day on Wall Street as investors fear a recession

Stocks tumbled today amid fears of a recession after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates yesterday in an effort to control inflation. Several central banks around the world also raised their interest rates yesterday, including those in England, Switzerland and Taiwan. [AP]

President Joe Biden told The Associated Press today that a recession is “not inevitable.” [AP]

The U.S. job market is still strong, however. Fewer workers filed for unemployment benefits last week than the week before. [AP]

But other signs that economists say point to a potential recession have begun to emerge. A report released today showed homebuilders broke ground on fewer homes last month. And mortgage rates jumped by the most in 35 years, pushing some buyers out of the housing market. [AP]

5. ‘Revenge travel’ is surging despite high gas prices and airfare

Trying to make up for lost vacations during the pandemic? Analysts say you’re not alone — and they’re even calling it “revenge travel.”

Despite higher airfares and fuel costs, the number of trips being taken this summer is up, NPR reports. Travel insurance company Allianz Partners says American travel to Europe will jump 600% from last year.

But the travel industry hasn’t rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, with capacity down 15% because of fewer flight routes, fewer crew members and less equipment.

Experts recommend waiting until September — or even October if you’re set on a trip to Europe — for a better value and fewer crowds. [NPR]

Closer to home, Chicago officials reported an 86% increase in visitors last year compared with 2020. The new tourism count is still just half of the nearly 61 million visitors reported in 2019, but officials said to keep in mind that the city didn’t fully reopen until June 2021 and the international travel ban lasted until November. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • City Council members are upset by closed Park District pools amid a lifeguard shortage. [Chicago Sun-Times]

  • COVID-19 vaccines for the youngest children could be available by next week. [New York Times]

  • Abbott’s baby formula plant is closed again after severe storms and flooding. [NPR]

  • Central Camera reopened its 122-year-old Loop store after being destroyed by a fire and looting in May 2020. [Block Club Chicago]

Oh, and one more thing …

A Juneteenth pop-up market will showcase 30 Black-owned businesses selling fashion, food and skin care.

Owners of independently-owned companies told WBEZ they’re eager to connect at The Thank You Chicago Juneteenth Market during a time when inflation is peaking, supply chain issues loom and COVID-19 continues to ripple through parts of the country.

The event is free and open to the public at The Promontory music and events space in Hyde Park on June 19, the date of the Juneteenth holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Attendees can listen to music from DJ Fresh Da Juice and DJ Mustafa Rocks while shopping. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

My colleagues at WBEZ created an amazing and extensive guide to free events in Chicago this summer. And I’d like to know what’s a favorite or hilarious memory you have of enjoying the summer in the city.

Jenny from Rogers Park writes:

“The year is 2010. It’s the Saturday night of Labor Day weekend, the day after my 24th birthday. I had just moved from Ann Arbor, MI to live with my best friend in a loft in Wicker Park above the Double Door (RIP) that was renting for $1,000 + utilities. Yeah, you read that right.

We had gathered our people, including the cute boys who lived next door, and climbed - illegally! - onto the roof, from where we could see the fireworks at Navy Pier. The PBR flowed like wine, the André $6 champagne bottles were popping, and I shared a kiss worthy of an indie film with one of those cute boys as we looked out over my new city. Zach (sp?), if you’re reading this, I hope you’re living your best life!”

Feel free to email me, and your response might appear in the newsletter this week.

Correction to Wednesday’s Rundown: Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to free enslaved people.