CPS security staff training focuses on conflict resolution - My9 New Jersey

CPS security staff training focuses on conflict resolution

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago Public Schools security staff members were back in school this summer, for a three-day training session that focused on diffusing conflict before it starts.

New CPS Security Chief Jadine Chou had the training custom-designed after months of talking to everybody.

"We're trying to move away from the perception that the security officers are strictly there to enforce the rules," Chou said. "We want them to understand that they can play a very important role in helping to build relationships with the students so they can be a positive influence."

The training starts with an eye-opening video of students talking honestly about how they view security staff. Kids talked about how they feel when staff are aggressive versus how they feel when they're approached with a smile.

"Some of it was kinda hurtful, some of it was shameful, but they only spoke from the heart and we gotta hear the students' heart and learn from it," said officer Nicholas Powell.

Chou said that past trainings have focused more on reactive tactics and responding to incidents with an emphasis on breaking up fights and suppressing kids who are acting up in class. She said we can't muscle our way out of the problem of student violence and misbehavior, so she's trying to   bring humanity to security.

"It does sound touchy-feely," she admitted. "But what we're trying to do is give them concrete tactics they can use, de-escalation strategies, how do you build relationships."  

All of the 1,500 security officers at CPS had to take the three day training during their summer break, and there will be a test, but Chou says the response from the officers has been overwhelmingly positive. The real test comes when school begins.

"We are doing this because we recognize how difficult the security officer position is," Chou said. "At the same time we recognize how difficult it is to be a student these days."

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