FIX D65 POLICY NOW: WE CAN'T CALL COPS ON 6 YEAR OLDS!
In Mid-March 2019, a District 65 elementary school called the police on a six-year old black, male child. We are aware that calling the police to intervene in situations where children are emotionally highly escalated is a practice that happens across the district. We also understand that there are staff members in each District 65 school who are trained to de-escalate children using nonviolent, nonverbal and verbal techniques to diffuse difficult situations.
As parents and as part of the Evanston community at large, we cannot allow for the practice of calling the police to remain as is or go unchallenged. We know that racial disparities exist in how the police use force*, which can make having any interaction with a police officer traumatic for a person of color. Subjecting children, especially children of color, to the additional trauma in a crisis situation only does more damage. We believe the practice of calling the police on a child in a school setting is counter to the stated anti-racism goals of District 65**.
We petition the D65 Administration and School Board to conduct a thorough evaluation of the current practices, revise that practice to ensure that it is trauma-informed and aligned with equity goals, and implement with urgency a new policy going forward, including any necessary training for D65 staff and administration.
As a group of concerned D65 parents, we would like to respectfully ask the following of the district:
- IMMEDIATELY: Review and revise your policies, creating clear guidelines on how crisis situations should be handled at each D65 school. This review process should include mental health professionals trained in restorative justice and crisis intervention. The goal of the new or revised policy should be to ensure that the number of incidents in which police are called to intervene with children to be as close to zero as possible.
- As soon as possible, with urgency, train all D65 school administrators, teachers and staff regarding the updated policy.
- Within two months of this request, host a D65 Town Hall meeting to present the changes the District proposes to enact in its policy and training so that parents in the community have an opportunity to weigh in and be part of the discussion.
- We were told that no data exists for incidents where cops are called to schools when we attempted to FOIA the district history on this matter. Start a Metric to track incidents where cops are called to schools and monitor it. If you don't track it you can't improve it.
D65 Parents and Evanston Community members
****District 65 Racial and Educational Equity Statement: https://www.district65.net/site/Default.aspx?PageID=1411