Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot released the following statement in support of the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) recommended changes to the School Resource Officer (SRO) program in Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

“All too often, black and brown students in CPS face disproportionately harsh punishment and become unnecessarily involved in the criminal justice system at a young age. This tragic reality has long-term consequences for our students and families, and is a criminal justice issue our city government must address.

“I support the OIG’s recommendations for the SRO program, and believe we must implement these policies as soon as possible rather than wait until the 2019-2020 school year. Encounters with SROs play a significant role in the school to prison pipeline. That’s why, as the OIG recommended, SROs should not be involved in routine disciplinary matters, and when they are involved, they should use de-escalation tactics and seek alternatives to arrest. It is critically important that students, parents, and other stakeholders are involved in outlining job responsibilities and hiring guidelines, and that SROs participate in regular training and performance evaluations.”