Tuesday, January 28, 2020
US flag

Chicago schools to teach police torture

Eighth graders in Chicago Public Schools will learn, as part of their local history studies, how a police commander in Chicago tortured African-Americans in the 1970s, the Associated Press reports.

The City of Chicago has paid out more than $100 million in lawsuits and other settlements, issued a formal apology, agreed to pay tuition for victims and their families (most of them have been released from prison through the work of various community organizations, which are also part of the new curriculum), and taken other steps to improve community relations after the case of former Police Commander Jon Burge was put to rest.

The Chicago Public Schools ran a pilot program in half a dozen schools last year to teach the curriculum and this year will extend it throughout the city to all eighth graders and high school freshmen.

Burge and a group of detectives under him would torture blacks who had been arrested in order to get them to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. He would use a cattle prod to electrify them in their genitals. He would beat them with phone books. The torture went on from the 1970s through the early 1990s.

“With racial tension happening across the United States, this program allows students to have a comfortable forum to discuss (the scandal) and share their ideas,” the AP quoted Alene Mason, a principal at one of the six schools that took part in last year’s pilot program, as saying.

As part of the curriculum, students will also get to hear from some of the victims. “If you know about the past and the Jon Burges, then you can make sense of how some police officers still feel emboldened to treat us any kind of way,” said Darrell Cannon.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.

Md. & IL bands perform on New Year’s in...

Bands from IL and Md. once again entertained thousands of people who lined the streets of London and Rome on New Year's Day.

Howard Co. sounds an under-staffing alarm

Teachers in a Md. district have filed a grievance over missing planning and lunch periods and, as a result, putting the most vulnerable students at risk.

Top 11 school stories of 2019

We find these 11 stories to have the greatest potential for influencing activity and direction in schools for the near future.

Girls’ volleyball champs in Illinois

We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls' volleyball: Newark, St Teresa, Sterling, & Benet Academy.

A weekend of ‘band geeks’ across America

The musical Band Geeks was in performance at a MD high school, just as marching bands from across America named a national champion.

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.