Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Are These Schools or Pre-Prison Detainment Camps

How many Chicago juvenile

arrests happen at school?

African American students were arrested at a rate nearly four times that of whites or Latinos

By Linda Paul

February 4, 2013

Arrests on CPS property by age

Source: Chicago Police Department. Final column indicates total juvenile arrests on CPS property.

Tens of thousands of young people get arrested each year in Chicago, and a lot of those arrests happen on the grounds of Chicago Public Schools. Of course, arrests at school happen all across the country.

The connection even has a name: some people say schools are a worrisome 'pipeline' to the criminal justice system for many young people. In fact, last December, Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin held the first ever congressional hearings on the topic. One big worry for people who work with kids is the lingering records kids can get from those arrests.

I'm visiting the home of Chicago Public School teacher Valerie Collins, and her son, daughter and I are crowded around a laptop on their dining room table. Valerie's kids are both public school graduates. I'd heard about a YouTube video that showed a really nasty fight at Sullivan High School in Chicago, and asked them to watch it with me.

"It's got a million hits!," Collins is exclaiming. "A million five hits. A million six!" They're listening to a television announcers account: "We have video of this and first of all the video is graphic. Okay, it's literally two girls, 17 and 18 beating up a 14 year old. The 14 year old suffered a concussion."

I'm here to talk to Collins about arrests at school. She's a math teacher at Simeon Career Academy, and before that she taught at both Lakeview and Phillips. I wanted to know if fights like the one we're watching are once-in-a-blue moon events.

Collins says serious fights like this happen at some, but not all, public schools maybe a couple times a year. Her daughter says it "sucks," but while she was in school she became sort of desensitized to such fights, "I wanna say it starts out as a joke because usually the way these, like fights, start off is off of something so ridiculous, so that it gets around the school and then everyone's just like, 'Oh, you know, there's gonna be a fight this period, you know. Let's all go out and see."

"It's worse with cell phones now," Collins adds, "because with cell phones they text people that there's going to be a fight. That's what they do. They text that there's going to be a fight and then unless we find out about it, everybody knows except for the administration. That's what happens."

There were about 4,600 arrests on public school grounds in 2011. That's about a fifth of the 25,000 arrests of kids 17 and under that year in Chicago.

But of those 4,600 arrests, only 14 percent were for the really serious stuff, the felonies, like robbery, burglary and fights with serious injuries -- like that one on the YouTube video.

Most arrests at school are for the still troubling, but less serious stuff -- the misdemeanors.

"So you've got some smart-mouthed 15-year-old girl, who the teacher says to her, you know, Miss Thang, sit down."

Here's Herschella Conyers, clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago.

"And she says to the teacher, 'You ain't talkin' to me.' And off they go! And the teacher says, 'I'll put you outta my room.' And the student says, you know, 'I'll whip your ass.' Uh --here come the police ! It's an ag assault. Now. Is the student absolutely wrong? Absolutely. Is there a better way to handle it? Yes."

Conyers says there was a time when conduct wasn't governed by the threat that the police would arrest. "It was, you know, here comes the principal, or God forbid - they're about to call my mother. In those days it would be, could you just call the police and not my mother, you know?"

There were over 3,500 misdemeanor arrests at Chicago public schools in 2011. The biggest category was for simple battery. That could be a punch, a shove, or a fight --seemingly minor confrontations that these days are taken seriously because they can lead to retaliations.

Next was disorderly conduct. Basically? Kids creating a ruckus. No serious injuries.

And the third biggest category? Drug abuse violations. These are usually arrests for small quantities of marijuana, because if it was a large quantity, or drugs like cocaine or heroin-that would be a felony.

That last category, in particular, bothers Conyers' colleague down the hall, Craig Futterman - also a clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago. National studies, he says, show that white kids use and sell drugs at a rate higher than black kids do. And, says Futterman, that's true in Chicago too.

"Where the vast majority of kids who use and sell drugs in high school are white. The vast majority of kids who are arrested for drugs, and or, worse, go to juvenile jail or go to juvenile prison for drugs, are African-American," says Futterman.

Here's what the numbers say about arrests at Chicago Public Schools in 2011. Almost 75 percent -- three quarters -- of all arrests were of African-American students. At the same time, in that same year, African-American students comprised about 42 percent of the student body. In fact in 2011, African American students were arrested at a rate nearly four times that of whites or Latinos.

This kind of imbalance is causing a lot of consternation and was a big topic of conversation at Senator Durbin's national hearings last month.

Craig Futterman and Herschella Conyers think that lower level offenses, the misdemeanors basically, are better handled within the school. By counselors, social workers and restorative justice practices like peer juries and peace circles.

Kristina Menzel is an attorney who represents kids in juvenile court. She says that when principals request arrest, unfortunately it's sometimes a way for the school to pass a problem kid on to another system.

"Now part of the problem is schools don't have money for these services, " Menzel says. "There's not money out there for education like there should be. So the schools use the courts to get services for these kids that are problematic."

There has to be a better way to deal with this, she says, "Since once they're brought in here, they're more likely to re-offend. And if they go to the Department of Juvenile Justice, their probability of re-offending goes up even higher."

As serious as getting arrested in school can be, what happens later can be even more serious. Follow our story of how a juvenile arrest record can mess up a young person's prospects for finding a job.

Successfully Managing Youth Violence in Chicago and America

By Phillip Jackson

February 6, 2013

Youth violence in Chicago is a complex, compound problem that simple solutions, such as "hire more policemen", can't solve. These are current strategies being used to reduce youth violence in Chicago that have not worked:

Increasing police on the streets with high-powered weapons and highly-militarized, crime-fighting equipment

Arresting, incarcerating and criminalizing youth

Focusing mostly on drug and gang activity

Using university research to create strategies for the streets

Intervening at the point of violence

Having the wrong people at the discussion table who don't know what causes youth violence and that have few new ideas for solving the problem of youth violence

I do not support any strategy that focuses on locking up more young Black men rather than sending more young Black men to college. I do not support any strategy that takes Black fathers away from their children through mass incarceration and destroys Black families and destabilizes Black communities. I do not support any strategy that only tells young Black drug dealers to stop selling drugs without giving them positive economic alternatives for earning a living.

Here are statistics on murders and youth murders in Chicago and America:

Big National Response:

Sandy Hook/Newtown, Connecticut - 26 killed

Columbine, Colorado - 12 killed

Aurora, Colorado - 12 killed

Almost No Local or National Response:

In Chicago, 108 youth, 19 years of age and younger, were killed in 2012

In Chicago, 513 Chicago citizens were killed in 2012

In Chicago, about 500 youth and children, 19 years old or younger were killed in the last 5 years on the streets of Chicago with about 50 Chicago soldiers being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during that same period

In Chicago, about 5,000 people have been killed in 10 years with only about 2,000 American soldiers being killed in Afghanistan during the same period

In the United States, about 75,000 mostly young Black men were killed in the last 10 years, (mostly in large urban cities) compared to only about 52,000 soldiers killed during the entire Viet Nam conflict

Here are four key solutions to reducing youth violence in Chicago:

Rebuild the Black family. Most of the violence in Chicago occurs in the Black community. Strong family units and good parenting practices are the biggest deterrents to youth violence. Strong families create good communities, good schools and well-balanced, socially productive children and young adults.

Provide strong, positive, mentors and role models for children in violence-plagued communities. The best mentoring organizations in their communities presently are the street gangs. When thugs, drug dealers and gang members do a better job of mentoring youth than churches, schools and community organizations, we have no chance to save these children.

Provide a globally competitive education for children in violence-plagued communities. Communities that have more collective educational attainment (educational capital) have less violence. Children in many Chicago violence-plagued communities are getting an education equivalent to or below that of some children in Third World countries.

Provide positive economic alternatives to selling drugs, burglary, robbery and other illegal economic activities that drive violence in these communities. These alternatives include training for new industries, entrepreneurship, job readiness training, connecting education to economics, and finally, the offer of jobs, internships and other employment opportunities. Much of the violence in these communities is economic related. Much of the rest of the violence is interpersonal violence that will be cured by rebuilding the family, mentoring and improving educational opportunities.

Chicago isn't safe for young Black men.

There is a major financial cost to not successfully managing youth violence in Chicago. It is unfortunate that Chicago has gained an international reputation for violence and crime. We do not deserve this title. But how many tourism dollars have we lost because of this violence? How many businesses decided not to locate in Chicago because of this violence? How many good families decided not to come to Chicago, or to leave Chicago, because of this violence?

We cannot police our way out of the violence that has over taken our city. We must work our way out of the violence with intelligence, management, coordination, resources, prayers and most of all the support, engagement and actions of parents, families and community members. In the long run, this is cheaper and better for Chicago than trying to simply police our way out of this violence.


Please click here to ask the White House to work with The Black Star Project to implement the above approach to successfully manage youth violence in America.

Please call Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at 312.744.3300 to to ask him to work with The Black Star Project to implement the above approach to successfully managing youth violence in Chicago.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Escalating Violence in Chicago Erupts with A Bloody Father's Day Weekend


Please wake up and stop sleeping. 52 People got shot this weekend in Chicago! READ, READ, READ. Seek information. No one is even addressing it!

A one year oled girl dies this weekend with her father. What kind of fathers day is that?/ The article stated that this type of behavior has become so typical that is does not even make the front page of the news. In essence, the reporter was saying that we have accepted that this is normal for us. For our children to die everyday with no one addressing, CAN NOT be our norm. we have to save our kids!! Chicago is continuing to have execution style murders, as a result of rival gang violence. People, that is the equivalent of war. Two opposing sides entering a conflict by physical force. What is going on in Afghanistan is similar to what is happening in our own neighborhoods everyday exccept we are fighting for different reasons. Soon the national guards will be running our streets! RENEGADES. Please do your part!! If you really want to make a difference you know what to do. PLEASE STOP THE VIOLENCE!

Change 4 Children

Monday, June 7, 2010

Chicago's Black Metropolis

Ironically, some of us live in a city so rich ion Black History and have never had the opportunity to visit the DuSable Museum. President Obama. The number of African-American leaders that come out of Chicago is startling. Listed below are a few. Please encourage our youth to be educated and visit the museum!

Click this link to learn more. http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/2361912,CST-NWS-BLACK07.article

This is a great outing for the summer to keep them occupied and out of trouble.

A few Chicago Pioneers are:

Daniel Hale Williams, who founded Chicago's Provident Hospital and performed the first successful open heart surgery there in the 1890s. The heart patient lived on for another 10 years.

• Carter G. Woodson, who established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in Chicago in 1915. His Negro History Week later became to Black History Month.

• Sam Young, who introduced "policy" gambling to Chicago around the turn of the century. Depending on your point of view, you can think of it as a predecessor to the state lottery, or the beginning of the black mafia, the film notes.

• Willa Brown, who helped spark the craze for African-American pilots. Not only was she the first-ever black female commercial pilot, but she was savvy enough to show others how to market themselves.

• Thomas A. Dorsey, who was said to have invented the black gospel style of piano music, and championed the career of Mahalia Jackson