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Task force meets to discuss violence in Illinois schools


Monday, November 21, 2022  |  Article  |  Andrew Hensel

Illinois House Public Safety and Violence Prevention Task Force members met with school officials to discuss ways of curbing violence in Illinois schools.


The committee met with members of Chicago Public Schools and discussed future programs designed to help students stay safe in the classrooms.


State Rep. LaShawn Ford, a committee member, explained the goal of Wednesday's meeting.


"Hopefully, today we will come together and be a strong advocate for school safety," said Ford, D-Chicago. "Many times when I talk to the communities, many people only focus on the major violence like school shootings, but it all leads up when we have communities and schools that are not healthy."


Jadine Chou, chief of safety and security for Chicago Public Schools, discussed three programs they have been implementing in their schools: the Becoming a Man Program, the Choose to Change program, and the Back to Our Future Program.


"A participant will be put into a paid skills program to get things going, and then we would connect you through that with a high-level mentorship similar to Choose to Change but much more intensive," Chou said.


Data shows that 95% of gun violence victims of school age were not enrolled in school at the time of their victimization.


Chou said one of the main goals is to keep kids safe inside the classrooms.


"The goal is to get these young people back into schools," Chou said. "Whether that is with CPS, or if they're older, we can get them into some education completion opportunity."


Ford echoed Chou's thoughts on keeping kids safe.


"I am a teacher by profession, and the safest room was always when we had a safe environment, and everyone felt welcomed," Ford said.


The committee also discussed other topics, including implementing security cameras in the school buildings.