State’s Attorney Foxx welcomed the group of stakeholders to the discussion and emphasized the importance of the collaborative effort. “I firmly believe that school should be a safe environment where children can learn and grow. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office wants to partner with law enforcement and school districts to ensure that we are not filing cases against children for minor offenses that occur at school. We are committed to addressing the school to prison pipeline by collecting, analyzing, and sharing data about school-based offenses that end up in the justice system and are here today to begin those conversations,” said Foxx.
The convening also included a presentation from Kevin Bethel, former Deputy Police Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department. During his 29 years with the Police Department, Deputy Commissioner Bethel was responsible for Patrol Operations for the entire city. He created several successful programs and was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Police Commissioner’s Crime Strategy for the City. Throughout his career, Deputy Commissioner Bethel has pursued work in the juvenile justice field, including serving on national, statewide, and local committees and advisory boards.
Roseanna Ander, Founding Executive Director of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab noted, “We at the University of Chicago Crime Lab are so honored to partner with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office on this important convening. It is imperative that young people in Chicago receive the schooling and support they need to be successful, and that the education and law enforcement stakeholders here today continue to work together to eliminate justice system responses where they do not belong.”
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office acknowledges that alternatives to court involvement, such as community based social services are far more effective measures for addressing behavioral issues. We hope that this discussion will be the first of many steps in ensuring that our schools are thriving environments for all students.