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The Community Rights Campaign with the Children's Defense Fund, PolicyLink and YJC is co-sponsoring an important state bill, authored by Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer from South LA.
AB 549 would require schools to better define the role of school police in their school safety plans. It would also require community input on the development of MOUs (contracts) between districts and police to create accountability and make it possible to prevent police from disciplining students with tickets and arrests.
AB 549 also creates a funding priority to add counselors, intervention workers and other mental health services before adding school police.This is especially important because President Obama has proposed to provide schools with $150 million to hire either counselors OR cops to increase school safety after Newtown.
See the attached factsheet below for more info about AB 549.
If you want some inspiration to take action, here's a video of our youth organizer Carlos Elmo Gomez testifying before the Education Committee about his experience getting pushed out of high school and why AB 549 matters.
The bill crossed its first major hurdle on May 1, when it passed the State Assembly's Education Committee. See news coverage here. Next it will be heard by the Appropriations Committee on Friday May 22. If it passes there, it would go to the floor of the assembly for a full vote!
1) Call Assemblymember Mike Gatto, Chair of the Appropriations Committee. Phone:(916) 319-2043 What you could say:
"I want to express my support for AB 549 which will come before the
Appropriations Committee this Friday. We need clear guidelines and
accountability for police on campus and we need to prioritize funding
for school counselors and restorative justice to stop students from
being pushed out of school."
2) You must call before 5pm, Thursday May 22.