'Gang Contracts' in Cicero and Berwyn Schools Raise Concerns About Criminalization of Youth

"Gang contracts" are used by many schools as a way to tell students they are suspected of gang activity and must avoid such activity or face discipline or expulsion. Gang contracts have been put to extensive use in the high schools and middle schools of two towns, Cicero and Berwyn, that underwent large demographic shifts toward more Latinx residents since the 1990s. Meant to make schools safer and put students on a better path, they have been based often on vague, unsubstantiated suspicions in Cicero and Berwyn. Critics cite evidence that young people are wrongly criminalized and denied educations.

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