Kids Deserve Safe Schools

Every day, our kids go to school facing undue stress and agitation.  From fear of bullies to stress of gun violence to anxiety over a constant police presence, the circumstances for learning, growing, and thriving are often hindered. We want to cultivate environments where students have confidence to progress in their education in a healthy and safe manner.

The Kids Deserve Safe Schools Coalition, working to support Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), urges the Board of Education to:

  • Implement and utilize restorative practices across all in-district schools;

  • Prioritize mental health resources - including hiring more social workers and counselors - to reduce interactions between police and students;

  • Increase transparency around policing in schools for parents and community members.

More details on our goals can be read below.

As it stands, Black and Brown students and students with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by current disciplinary practices in CPS. Our goal is to help CPS restore social workers, counselors, and police to their respective goals and roles. In doing so, CPS students will thrive through restorative practices and mental health supports. Our already overburdened public service professionals will no longer be taxed with the work of others. 

The vast majority of school incidents can and should be handled by teachers, mental health counselors, social workers, and restorative justice practitioners. By shifting to a restorative justice framework, students can benefit from the social-emotional support they deserve and police are not overburdened. 

Polling conducted in 2022 reveals that parents of CPS students and recent CPS graduates want to prioritize social-emotional learning and support students by investing in experts trained to support students’ mental health. Together, we can make this a reality. 

Sign the Petition

Together, we can create an environment that allows Cincinnati children to thrive.

sign the petition with yellow highlighter

Join the Kids Deserve Safe Schools coalition by signing our petition. 

Blogs

Learn more about specific issues facing students in CPS.

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  • Young Activists Coalition (3/22/22) more
  • Restorative Justice Explained (2/10/222) more
  • New Data Shows Over-Policing and Lack of Accountability in CPS (4/2/21) more
  • SROS and Cincinnati Public Schools: My Story of Harm Left Untreated (4/14/21) more

Press Releases

Catch up on ACLU of Ohio news.

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  • New Data Shows Over-Policing, Racial Disparities, Lack of Accountability in CPS (7/13/22) more
  • Alarming New Data Shows Over-Policing, Racial Disparities, And Lack of Accountability in Cincinnati Public Schools more

Publications

Documents detailing CPD's role in CPS.

The word 'Publications' in navy font, with small blue rectangles above and below, on a background of crumpled and wrinkled notebook paper
  • Policing in Cincinnati Public Schools: Community Survey Results (more)
  • Disparate Racial Discipline in Cincinnati Public Schools (more)
  • Ending the School-To-Prison Pipeline: A Case Study of Cincinnati Public Schools (more)

Publication .pdfs also linked at the bottom of the page.

 

Kids Deserve Safe Schools Goals

  1. Implement and utilize restorative practices across all in-district schools. Enact a policy to fund and expand Social-Emotional Learning support staff so that teachers have more resources to support students in crisis. Expand the school's investments in restorative practices by providing training to all student-facing staff and CPS administrators, and ensure that training addresses intersectional concerns, including racial and disability inequities - in suspensions, expulsions, and other types of classroom removal. Provide staff with necessary resources for restorative practices, including specialized rooms for restorative circles. Implement youth mentorship programs that connect CPS students with members of the Cincinnati community.
     

  2. Prioritize mental health resources - including hiring more social workers and counselors - to reduce interactions between police and students. Enact a policy to prioritize funding and hiring for social workers, counselors, and nurses. Increasing student interactions with mental health professionals, rather than police officers, provides students with direct access to the emotional support services they deserve. By delivering these resources, students in need of mental health support avoid the potential trauma associated with unnecessary and negative interactions with police. To ensure that CPS students have the necessary mental health resources to be safe and supported in CPS, the district must hire enough staff to attain the minimum student-staff ratios recommended by the American School Counselor Association (250 students: 1 counselor), School Social Work Association of America (250 students: 1 social worker), and American Nurses Association (750 students:1 nurse). This means that CPS must hire 104 social workers, 83 more counselors, and 32 more nurses just to meet the minimum ratios to support CPS students. For schools with high proportions of students who have experienced Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs), CPS should affirmatively provide more than the minimum recommended ratios of student mental health staff.
     

  3. Increase transparency around policing in schools for parents and community members. Dissolve the current contract between CPS and CPD and create a modified contract to address racial inequities and concerns by students and community members. Require that data regarding interactions between school police and CPS students be collected and published to the public on a monthly basis. Enact, in consultation with community stakeholders, a clear Use-of-Force policy and intervention guidelines for mandatory police actions. Require immediate parental notification when police interact with students, and prohibit police from interrogating students without the opportunity for parents to be present. With appropriate alternatives in place, remove police from daily patrol of schools.