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.
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.