Hey LAUSD, Demilitarize Our Schools and Communities, Ethnic Studies Now!
by Ashley Franklin on Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Ethnic Studies Now Coalition urging LAUSD to pass the Ethnic Studies graduation resolution.
No Police Expansion in Elementary School, End LAUSD Participation in Department of Defense 1033 Program
The Labor/Community Strategy Center's Community Rights Campaign rejects Boardmember Ratliff's resolution to study expansion of police into elementary schools, proud members of the Ethnic Studies Now - #OurHistoryMatters, Dismantle #School2 Jail Track, #DemilitarizeLAUSD Coalition
After many months of work in schools in South Los Angeles and Boyle Heights the Strategy Center's Community Rights Campaign has been organizing our classrooms and neighborhoods to push for the approval of an Ethnic Studies graduation requirement at LAUSD. As a group that has been a leader in the movement to end the LAUSD's school to prison pipeline, we believe that the establishment of Ethnic Studies in our schools is another cornerstone in tackling the school to prison pipeline. The building of a students' knowledge of our people's history further strengthens the student sense of self, builds greater understanding of others, breaks the monotonous teaching of standardized testing and can further support a more inclusive school environment.
New Resolution Calls for Study to Expand Police in Elementary Schools
Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member Ratliff introduced and was originally calling for a vote at the November 18th Board meeting on a resolution geared towards expanding school police in the elementary schools under an ‘opt-in' system. The resolution was postponed to the December 2nd meeting after concerns were raised by the Community Rights Campaign. If Boardmember Ratliff's resolution passes it would direct the District to conduct a study of the fiscal impacts of litigation under the premise that adding police to more schools would offset these costs. The Community Rights Campaign questions the costs to students and families and finds this move on the part of Boardmember Ratliff extremely dismissive of the work and success that students have achieved with the Board challenging the school-to-prison-pipeline through the School Climate Bill of Rights resolution, the truancy reforms and the LASPD guidelines to curb police interactions with students.
We are deeply troubled that there has been no attempt by Boardmember Ratliff to engage with the community partners and students that speak to the Board on a regular basis about how their experience at school is negatively impacted by the role of police at school. Also concerning is the utter lack of any meaningful public process on an issue that has such serious implications, particularly for students and communities of color who have been unquestionably more impacted by police in schools, when a resolution is noticed the same day that a Board vote is happening.
Seeking opportunities to expand police presence into elementary schools calls into question much more than the risk of increased tickets and arrests of students. The Labor/Community Strategy Center's Community Rights Campaign has analyzed the issue of police in schools extensively and has worked closely with the District and school police to address many of the harms that have taken place due to police presence and a persistent lack of institutionalized accountability measures regarding police conduct at school. The focus of the report called for in the resolution is biased in favor of increasing police and has no mention of the civil and human rights implications of the historical context of police presence in our communities and schools. There are numerous studies that have been provided to Boardmembers that report the devastating educational outcomes for students and families that have contact with the juvenile system through an arrest at school. In contrast, there is no concrete evidence that supports that the presence of a police officer at school is a preventative measure.
Proposals for more police, comes months after revelation of LASPD's military weaponry possession acquired from the Department of Defense 1033 Program. Members of the Community Rights Campaign organize in their communities to call out a much bigger racial injustice they have experienced and observe in relationship to police in society generally. They are upset by both physical and emotional implications on black and brown youth in poor communities. They believe the educational systems relationship to policing and the militarization of the police, particularly in response to community protest, is a message that their success and health is not the priority. It has no tenable relationship to the well-being of students and only puts those students already at greater risk of police presence in their schools of an earlier onset of criminalization. We say LAUSD, No Tanks, No Military Weapons, Reject 1033 Program!
Community Rights Campaign is urging the LAUSD Board to stand with students and communities of color by:
- Supporting the Ethnic Studies graduation requirement motion
- Rejecting Boardmember Ratliff resolution for a study to expand policing in schools
- Urge the LAUSD board to begin to give a full account of all military grade weaponry in their possession including all weapons acquired through the Deparment of Defense 1033 Program and end LAUSD participation in the 1033 program
- End the School to Jail Track - our schools need counselors, mental health specialist, restorative justice and supportive services as a primary source of prevention and intervention not more police!