Black Students and Community Organizations Win a Historic Unanimous Vote to Fund Black Futures, Not School Police!
February 16, 2021
Channing Martinez – (310) 760-1159, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Mann – (323) 445-6366, email@example.com
LOS ANGELES — Today, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education stood with community members and voted unanimously to adopt the community proposal on school safety. After months of organizing led by Black students, and hundreds of testimonies asking the school district to fund Black futures and reimagine school safety, the School Board will direct the $25 million cut from the Los Angeles School Police budget and an additional $11 million into Black Student Achievement. This plan enacts a long-standing community demand for Counselors not Cops, and is a first step towards replacing school police with more effective strategies for student safety.
The Black student and community-developed proposal adopted by the Board includes hiring Psychiatric Social Workers, Counselors, Restorative Justice Coordinators, and Ethnic Studies courses for nearly 15,000 Black students in LAUSD at schools with the greatest Black student enrollment including those with higher rates of recorded student arrests or suspensions, and the lowest levels of Black student achievement.
A critical piece of what was passed by the LAUSD School Board today is that schools will no longer have police officers stationed on school campuses. Black and Brown students, parents, educators and community organizations will continue to work towards completely eliminating the LA School Police department. This victory is a crucial step towards mitigating the years of disinvestment and ending the criminalization and over-policing of Black students and students of color in LAUSD.
“I am proud to see a door opening towards a bright future for me and my peers. It’s a great feeling to see this win months after the death of George Floyd. As a young Black man, it was scarring to see a grown man who looked like me have his life taken like that. I wonder if my friends or I would survive a situation like that. I am glad to say that this win is a step towards a reality where the death of Black folks isn’t inevitable”, said Emmanuel Karunwi-a Student Leader with the Brothers Sons Selves Coalition.
“As a Black graduate of LAUSD who suffered the very conditions we are trying to change, I’m honored that I will be on the Black Student Achievement Oversight Committee representing the Strategy Center. This is a victory for Black Students, for community groups who have led the fight to end the School to Prison To Deportation Pipeline over the last 20 years and a vote for Black people who are suffering attack after attack by the police, and by anti black policies. This decision of the board to vote to Fund Black Futures, and to further grant us the right to self determination via advisory votes is a large step in the direction of breaking away from the traditions of Colonial Education,” said Channing Martinez, Director of Organizing at The Labor/Community Strategy Center.
“This victory ensures that Police will no longer be on our campuses to harass Black youth, and it invests the $25 million we cut from School Police into resources like Counselors, PSWs, and Restorative Justice coordinators to help students thrive. We will continue to demand a full Defunding of the LA School Police Department and put an end to anti-Black policies that target Black and Brown students”, said Kahlila Williams, Student Leader with Students Deserve.
“We are extremely excited that the school board voted unanimously to adopt a resolution that met all of the key demands of our youth and community-developed proposal. Significantly, ALL of the funds cut from the LA School Police Department will be reinvested specifically to support Black students with resources like counselors, culturally relevant curriculum, and psychiatric social workers; and NO cops will be stationed on school campuses in LAUSD. We celebrate the board for taking this huge first step and we look forward to continuing the push to #ReimagineSchoolSafety and #FundBlackFutures.”, Joseph Williams, Director of Operations and Campaigns at Students Deserve