Roger C. Sullivan High School Local School Council
July 14, 2020 — 10:00 a.m. Google Hangout
Family • Integrity • Service • Tenacity
I. Call Meeting to Order
The meeting was called to order at 10:40 a.m.
II. Roll Call
Mr. Thomas, Mr. Berrol, Ms. Chrisp, Ms. Evins, Mr. Gonzalez, Ms. Guijosa, Ms. Llorens, Ms. Mosak, Ms. Thorpe.
A quorum was present.
III. Organizational Meeting held prior to regular meeting
IV. Approve Agenda
The agenda was approved unanimously.
V. Approve Previous Minutes
Minutes of the June 11, 2020 were approved unanimously.
VI. Principal’s Report
State of the School
- Re-opening: It is not yet known if CPS schools will re-open with 100% virtual learning or some other configuration. A draft plan is expected to be released in mid-July with feedback invited.
- Capital improvements: Work I in progress.
- Parents are needed. Two interested parents have started the application process.
- Football started this week.
Academics, Testing, Friends of Sullivan, Arts and Activities
- There were no updates.
- The virtual graduation video and walk/drive-by were a huge success.
VII. New Business
Senior 12th Grade School Fees Waiver
- All 12th grade school fees have been waived. Seniors still owe for previous years if those fees have not yet been paid.
- The building remains closed. Students will be notified when they can pick up their diplomas.
Chicago Police in Sullivan High School
Mr. Thomas reported that the LSC voted in February to have the School Resource Officers (SROs) remain at Sullivan for SY21, and the SRO contract was discussed again at the June meeting. At that meeting the LSC agreed to have a statement reflecting the LSC view of the issue posted on the school website (done); to poll students, faculty, staff and parents over the summer (in process); and to hold a townhall for discussion with the larger community (in process).
The late June meeting of the Board of Education agreed to give LSCs the authority to decide whether to keep SROs at their schools. Schools will not get a financial benefit from removing SROs. LSCs have been asked to vote (or re-vote) by August 14, 2020.
VIII. Public Comments
Forty individuals, including LSC members, attended this meeting. Participants included students, teachers, and staff.
Discussion was open to both speakers and the written “chat” function of the virtual meeting. A brief summary of speakers’ comments follows.
- Rising 11th grade student urged the LSC to listen to student voices. She has been hit by police at protests. She said students feel they are being targeted in what is supposed to be a safe place: “School feels like prison. This is the opposite of restorative justice.” She also referred to the fear experienced by undocumented students
- 2018 graduate cited research demonstrating the anxiety experienced by Black and Brown students in police presence, and statistics on arrests of CPS students in school. She sees the current situation as an opportunity to increase funding for social services and mental health services.
- Teacher applauded the LSC for valuing democracy and referred to the statement produced after the June meeting, asking “What kind of family to be aspire to be…?”
- Teacher asked for more transparency/accessibility to LSC meetings, noting that the February vote was to fill an SRO vacancy. She called the upcoming vote “an opportunity to walk the walk.”
- Counselor referenced a workshop to examine needs and create practical changes to create safety and to advocate for resources.
- Security guard (off-duty police officer) asked how many people who want to remove SROs have actually had contact with them, saying that being part of the Sullivan family is acceptance of everyone. He stated that systematic racism does not exist.
- Social worker said he had had positive experience with SROs at Sullivan and they have built “fantastic” relations, but that Black and Brown people are over-policed and that police are part of the school-to-prison pipeline. He asked that funding be re-directed and that the school imagine “a better product.”
- 2020 graduate took issue with the “disrespectful” claim that systematic racism does not exist, noting that while not all police are bad “I feel fear around police” because of their violence against Black and Brown people.
- Counselor spoke against retention of SROs, referencing her experience in juvenile court where she saw children being extremely traumatzed, with 90% of those brought in having been arrested at school. “There has to be a better way than policing behavior issues,” she said, describing police presence as “triggering” for many students: “Listen to the people who are affected the most.”
- Former tutor at Sullivan working on conflict resolution said he couldn’t think of a single instance where a police presence was necessary; issues could be resolved through the restorative practices in place. He asked that Sullivan “re-imagine a future that doesn’t entail criminalizing youth.”
- Former head of Sullivan’s security team said that while SROs might not be needed every day, there are some situations that get out of hand; if police are not there, what might be in their place? He felt the school should hear from the security team, and discuss how students and security officers would be protected in “out of hand” situations.
- The alderwoman’s staffer noted that the alderwoman is the co-sponsor of a proposed City Council ordinance to remove the SROs.
IX. LSC Vote on SROs
The Minutes of the February LSC meeting state “…the LSC unanimously approved the hiring of a second school resource officer to fill a vacancy.” There were different understandings among LSC members as to whether this was or was not a vote to continue with SROs in the school next year.
The LSC agreed to vote on whether or not to continue the SRO contract at the next meeting, August 7, 2020 at 10:00.
X. Other Items
- LSC members are welcome to join this new committee.
Instruction and Curriculum Coach
- The new coach is Dr. Rebecca Angus.
Youth Entrepreneurship Program
- Stephanie Moore, CTE Academy Coordinator, represented the school at the Youth Entrepreneurship conference, presenting to over 100 educators from across the country. $25,000 has been donated for this program at Sullivan.
- Rachel Madrid is the coordinator for the class of 2020. Students needing help transitioning to college should be referred to her.
Counselors for New Students
- Students trying to enroll at Sullivan should be referred to the principal or assistant principal.
Mental Health Services
- Amy Bicknell is a social worker with Alternatives, based at Sullivan. She is offering mental health services for setudents over the summer and can be contacted at: [email protected].
The meeting was adjourned at 12:25 p.m.
Esther Mosak, Secretary