School Safety

May 19, 2004 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Union Priority

“Safe Schools: It’s Union Work.”

That’s what the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union has decided with its drive this year to support teachers who are dealing with discipline and safety problems in the trenches.

Deborah M. Lynch, the president of the American Federation of Teachers affiliate, said the union launched its security campaign after an annual canvas of CTU delegates last year indicated that teachers wanted more union support and advocacy on safety matters.

Looking to the United Federation of Teachers of New York City as a model, the heads of the Chicago organization formed a safety and security department, surveyed delegates on the scope of the 435,000-student district’s violence and discipline problems, and held a safety conference in April for its members.

The survey results were troubling, Ms. Lynch said.

Of the 255 respondents—representing the same number of schools in the 600-school Chicago system—61 percent said there had been incidents of violence in their schools in the past year.

More than half the respondents identified classrooms and hallways as the settings for most of the problems; and nearly 70 percent said students were the perpetrators of violence, while 16 percent pointed a finger at parents.

Thirty-two percent of the respondents said they themselves had been victims of assault in the past year.

Nearly all the respondents said their schools had assigned security guards, but only 39 percent reported having school-based police officers. And while 60 percent said their schools had metal detectors, only 25 percent said the machines were used every day.

Based on the survey results, union leaders want to weigh in on security issues at the district and school levels, see that the Chicago system’s safety code is in force throughout the district, and ensure that CTU members understand the security provisions in the union’s contract with the schools.

Ms. Lynch described the district administration as “cooperative and receptive” so far, and a district spokesman said in a statement that the administration welcomes the union’s “efforts to improve the safety climate of our schools.”

—Darcia Harris Bowman

A version of this article appeared in the May 19, 2004 edition of Education Week


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)