Ald. Walter Burnett (27th Ward) told parents at a rally Friday morning that he intends to co-sponsor a resolution with Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward) calling on CPS to lower suspension rates by 40 percent and to implement restorative justice practices.
“Rather than punish our children, we want our children to be nurtured and cared for,” he told about 40 members of POWER-PAC, a parent organization, which is part of the not-for-profit Community Organizing and Family Issues.
POWER-PAC held the rally at Wells High School as part of the Dignity in Schools Campaign’s National Week of Action. City council resolutions are not binding, but Burnett said that a resolution puts alderman’s wishes “on blast.”
Though recent numbers aren’t available, CPS has long had a high suspension and expulsion rate. POWER-PAC member Lynn Morton said that in a meeting with CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard he told her she was preaching to the converted in terms of using restorative justice to reduce out-of-school punishment. “We are calling on you, the converted, to give life to your words,” she said.