Jun 12, 2024  |  
 | Remer,MN
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NextImg:Removing police officers from all Chicago high schools will hurt students

As a retired public high school teacher, I’m more than mildly concerned when the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education seems to be on the cusp of removing sworn police officers from all of the city’s high schools. 

We barely hear about the positive contributions of officers in terms of their counseling function. It was extremely common for students to seek low-key assistance from officers when they or friends were facing difficulty both in the building and outside the relative safety of the school. Students would reach out to the officers when they were being pressured to join street gangs or were engaging in unsafe and/or illegal activities. The school resource officers were trained to address those issues before they escalated, always anonymously.

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When my own children were in a school different from the one in which I was teaching, I was comforted that the school resource officers were in the building to protect them. There were occasions when I had to summon the officers to my classroom to protect both myself and students from a troubled kid.

Last week, two teenage boys who were allegedly armed with a gun and driving a stolen car robbed an innocent pedestrian on the street on the Near North Side. Officers arrested them within an hour. Is it implausible to think these two kids, ages 15 and 16, might have been safety issues when/if they were in school? Would social workers — often cited as alternatives to sworn officers — have much of an effect on the two boys?

Dwain Thomas, River North

Hold off on DNC protests

I was most disheartened to hear that abortion rights/LGBTQ advocates and others are planning to hassle the Democratic National Convention with a march advocating dissension and criticism of the party.

The Democrats have led the fights for abortion and LGBTQ rights nonstop for years. Could more be done? Of course. But we live in a country dominated right now by a Donald Trump-led MAGA cult and a Supreme Court packed with like-minded Republicans. Our power is limited.

This is not the moment in time — with Trump poised to win the GOP nomination — to beat up on the Democrats. Trump could win this election. Do the protesters realize what that would mean for abortion and transgender rights?

Carol Kraines, Deerfield

Money alone can’t solve migrant issue

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s plea to “fairly disperse migrants” across the country is meant to be equitable (“With Chicago’s migrant crisis worsening, Biden should step up” — Jan. 2 ) But here’s a flash: It’s already happening, and it is anything but fair or equitable.

The number of migrants and asylum-seekers flooding into America across the Mexican border in 2023 exceeded the populations of 17 states, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border protection. Of those millions, more than 30,000 have arrived in Chicago according to city officials, yet that’s been enough to send the city into political, economic and humanitarian frenzies.

No one, to my knowledge, is keeping track of the millions who actually have been “dispersed” or dispersed themselves into the rest of the country. Or what the cost has been to those other locations. Or the social upheaval caused among them. Or the threat to national security posed by possible criminals hiding among the crowds. Or the fate of unaccompanied children. Or the crimes committed against the immigrants themselves.

To get an idea of the enormity of the problem, consider how much disruption is caused by the 30,000-some in Chicago.

Asking for federal money to deal with disastrous results of the border intrusions isn’t the only solution. The “root cause” is the weak border policies of the Biden administration. Yes, comprehensive border reform is urgently needed. But waiting until then (if it ever happens) won’t do Chicago or the rest of America any good. The administration must do more than dole out more money. 

Dennis Byrne, Jacksonville, Florida

Adverse ‘anniversary’ should be sobering wake-up call

The third anniversary of Jan. 6 is a solemn reminder that we cannot take our fundamental freedoms for granted. Despite the fact that Donald Trump is facing felony charges for conspiring to overturn the will of voters in 2020, he is still running for president.

Trump is desperately hoping that by being allowed back in the White House, he can avoid accountability for his crimes by pardoning himself. He and his allies are already plotting to weaponize the U.S. Department of Justice to purge the federal government of anyone who disagrees with him. After seeing how far Trump was willing to go on Jan. 6, 2021, we should take all of his threats seriously.

On top of this, MAGA Republicans nationwide continue their assault on our democracy by introducing radical voter suppression bills, spreading false election conspiracy theories and threatening to overturn election results they disagree with.

Preserving our democracy takes work — and this year, we must all do our part. Trump and his allies pose an urgent threat to our democracy, our fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. It’s up to all of us to ensure they do not return to power.

Milton Beuck, Lincoln Park