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CPS Students Will Learn History Of Chicago Police Torture

by Shannon Heffernan - WBEZ Chicago  |  08/30/2017

As Chicago police misconduct makes headlines across the country, Chicago Public Schools announced Monday that students will now learn about one of the most infamous police scandals in the city’s history.

 

The new curriculum includes lessons on how more than 100 people have filed complaints that alleged police officers tortured them between 1972-1991 under the leadership of former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge.

“These people were shocked with electricity. They were burned with a cigarette lighter, beaten, and tied up,” according to the lesson plan. “They were held for days without food or access to a bathroom and without contact with anyone else. They were denied sleep and left naked. They were hooded, threatened with death, and forced to participate in mock executions. They were verbally abused.”

The creation of the curriculum goes back to 2015, when aldermen passed a historic ordinance to pay reparations to people who said they were tortured into making false confessions. The ordinance promised to pay more than $5 million to those exonerated, as well as give free tuition at city colleges and access to mental health services. But the city added another unusual provision: All 8th and 10th grade CPS students would learn about Burge and the city’s history of police torture.

“Chicago will, in fact, be the leading force throughout the United States to change not only the curriculum but also the mind set,” said Darrell Cannon, a community activist who said he was tortured by police. “Because racism, unfortunately, still exists today in this city.”

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Chicago Teachers Union