The Land of Lincoln finished dead last among the 50 states in passing a concealed carry law. And like California, Illinois enjoys a lot of misguided thinking from those who look at guns like fresh dog droppings. Now, the Democrat majority brain trust in the Illinois House passed a bill that would replace armed school resource officers with social workers.
Yes, Illinois state representative Chris Welch (pictured above) introduced HB-4208 with lots of his fellow Democrats as co-sponsors. The bill would award grant monies to districts that did away with armed school resource officers and replaced them with social workers.
To hear him tell it (from his bill):
The General Assembly recognizes that (i) many K-12 students around the State are arrested in school and sent into the justice system, often for minor offenses that do not pose a serious threat to school safety; (ii) many schools across the State have become overly reliant on law enforcement personnel
to handle routine school disciplinary matters; (iii) many student behaviors that result in arrest in some schools are addressed without involving the justice system in others; (iv) the overcriminalization of K-12 students has had significant negative consequences for students, families, and entire
communities; (v) these dynamics, known as the “school-to-prison pipeline”, have disproportionately affected students of color; (vi) these practices impose substantial economic costs on both localities and the State overall; (vii) the use of school-based law enforcement has not been proven effective as a strategy to promote safe and productive schools; and (viii) eliminating unnecessary school-based arrests and law enforcement presence in school while promoting the use of developmentally appropriate alternatives will protect school safety, improve school climate, raise academic achievement, and save taxpayer dollars.
These new social workers would “better address the full range of students’ intellectual, social, emotional, physical, psychological, and moral developmental needs.”
For those not yet full “woke,” these social workers can come in many flavors. They include “restorative justice practitioners, school psychologists, social workers, and other mental and behavioral health specialists, providing drug and alcohol treatment services and wraparound services for youth…”
For those paying attention, does this sound like some of the utterly failed practices present in Broward County Schools? You know, those very same “restorative justice approaches” that allowed the Parkland school killer to escape the criminal justice system and later launch his murder spree?
Why yes, they do. From a March 1, 2018 Real Clear Investigations investigative report:
Broward school Superintendent Robert W. Runcie – a Chicagoan and Harvard graduate with close ties to President Obama and his Education Department – signed an agreement with the county sheriff and other local jurisdictions to trade cops for counseling. Students charged with various misdemeanors, including assault, would now be disciplined through participation in “healing circles,” obstacle courses and other “self-esteem building” exercises.
Asserting that minority students, in particular, were treated unfairly by traditional approaches to school discipline, Runcie’s goal was to slash arrests and ensure that students, no matter how delinquent, graduated without criminal records.
And yes, under Chicagoan Robert Runcie’s leadership, Broward schools practiced “restorative justice”. Also from the Real Clear report:
Additional literature reveals that students referred to PROMISE for in-school misdemeanors – including assault, theft, vandalism, underage drinking and drug use – receive a controversial alternative punishment known as restorative justice.
“Rather than focusing on punishment, restorative justice seeks to repair the harm done,” the district explains. Indeed, it isn’t really punishment at all. It’s more like therapy. Delinquents gather in “healing circles” with counselors, and sometimes even the victims of their crime, and talk about their feelings and “root causes” of their anger.
Students who participate in the sessions and respond appropriately to difficult situations are rewarded by counselors with prizes called “choice rewards,” which they select in advance. Parents are asked to chip in money to help pay for the rewards.
How has the program worked, aside from its most spectacular failure with the Parkland school killer? From another Real Clear Investigations report dated April 15, 2018:
Broward County, Fla., school officials portray as a great success their Obama administration-inspired program offering counseling to students who break the law, instead of having them arrested or expelled. They insist that it played no role in February’s school massacre by [scumbag’s name redacted]. They also claim that in fact juvenile recidivism rates are down and school safety is up, thanks to the program.
The evidence tells a far different story.
Broward County juvenile justice division records, federal studies of Broward school district safety and the district’s own internal reporting show that years of “intensive” counseling didn’t just fail to reform repeat offender [scumbag’s name redacted], who allegedly went on to shoot and kill 17 people at his high school. Records show such policies have failed to curtail other campus violence and its effects now on the rise in district schools — including fighting, weapons use, bullying and related suicides.
Meanwhile, murders, armed robberies and other violent felonies committed by children outside of schools have hit record levels, and some see a connection with what’s happening on school grounds. Since the relaxing of discipline, Broward youths have not only brazenly punched out their teachers, but terrorized Broward neighborhoods with drive-by shootings, gang rapes, home invasions and carjackings.
Yes, Illinois Representative Welch want to embrace the failed disciplinary model adopted by Broward County. Not only that, but he wants to do so by awarding grants to districts that redirect funding from armed school resource officers to unarmed social workers. And 63 other Illinois legislators agree with him.
Of course, these same legislators refuse to consider passing meaningful legislation to allow armed and trained school staff to carry discretely in schools. Clearly nobody’s ever explained to them what happens when you show up at a gunfight with a social worker instead of a firearm.
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately, failures like these cost lives. Which makes you wonder, why play these games with the lives of our school children?