Chicago Public Schools will build a reporting system for incidents of racism and bias in schools, the district announced Thursday. Much of the work will focus on training and nondisciplinary solutions at the school level, but the district will investigate more serious incidents.
The program is called Transforming Bias-Based Harm and will include training for students and some staff on recognizing implicit bias and microaggressions. The district defines such actions as “everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional,” based on a person’s race, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
This past fall, students at some of the district’s selective high schools began using social media to document instances of racism at their schools. They shared stories involving racial slurs, bullying, and racial profiling by school security officers. The district said that students and families would be able to start reporting incidents of perceived bias on the CPS website or by emailing [email protected]
District officials Thursday did not offer many specifics about how educators would address harmful behavior among students but said cases would be referred to counselors and social workers. In addition, officials said schools would be encouraged to use restorative justice practices, such as peace circles and mediation, rather than punitive ones. More serious allegations will be investigated by the Office of Student Protections, or OSP, which formed in 2018 to investigate cases of sexual abuse.
The effort will include student input — something some student groups said was lacking during the social-justice protests of 2020.
“Our students’ bravery in standing up and speaking out against injustice was a call to action for our team and the entire district,” said Debra Spraggins, OSP’s director of investigations.
Read the complete article at: Chicago Chalkbeat