Chicago kids are required to learn about police torture. So how’s it being taught?
The Reparations Won curriculum, mandated for public schools citywide, was one part of a package of reforms demanded by the movement against police torture in Chicago. On May 6, 2015 Chicago City Council passed the Reparations Ordinance, which included cash payments, free college education, and a range of social services to 57 living survivors of police torture, as well as a formal apology from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a mandate to teach the broader public about the torture.
Much like the nature of the ordinance itself, the curriculum — which Chicago requires in seventh or eighth grade and tenth grade classrooms — goes beyond just teaching about history. Teachers can request a survivor of police torture to come and speak to students through Chicago Torture Justice Center, a support center created under the ordinance. And along with talking circles, or discussion groups, the curriculum prompts students to reimagine what public safety could look like, perhaps without police.
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