SKOKIE, Ill. (CBS) — Should police be in schools?
It is a debate happening all over the country, and a school district in Skokie took up the topic Tuesday night. But some were outraged by comments made by the Fraternal Order of Police lodge representing the officers.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Wednesday night, the FOP in Skokie made it clear they want officers to remain in schools.
And if they are removed, the FOP made their position known at that school board meeting. Some students and board members perceived it as a threat.
The Skokie Police Department provides resource officers at Niles North High School, at 9800 N. Lawler Ave. in Skokie, and other local schools. Niles North is part of Niles Township High School District 219.
But as tensions have boiled with police across the country following the death of George Floyd, the question of whether or not badges belong in schools has come to the surface.
“I am in favor of removing police officers from D219 schools,” said Udoka Nwansi, who just graduated from Niles North. “It’s not settling. It makes students feel unsettled to have like a cop at school like armed and stuff and in their whole, like, gear. It’s not something that students feel comfortable with.”
Nwansi spoke out following the Tuesday school board meeting. A letter written by the Skokie police union’s vice president was read at that meeting.
It reads in part: “Should the School Board decide that they believe a Skokie Police Officer is no longer needed in either school, there should be no reason for the Police to respond to any D219 facility for any reason. The school staff could be trained to handle any and all situations.”
“It’s very alarming, especially in our current political climate, for him to say something, like, that out of line – especially like in times,” Nwansi said. “It kind of blew me.”
At least Two board members who have been outspoken in favor of removing sros— tell cbs2 they perceived the fops letter as a threat— to not show up if and when called upon
“I’m disappointed, but not surprised,” Nwansi said.
The union’s vice president said he was taken out of context at the meeting by those vocal board members—accusing them of providing opinion.
The FOP said they will respond to every call, even at the schools as they swore to do. The FOP urged the board to take a vote, so the community which includes current and former police officers, can see where their board stands.