For Immediate Release //
Thursday, October 14, 2021
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Community groups convene press conference to call for Board of Supervisors and the LA County Office of Education to Eliminate Law Enforcement & the Presence of Armed Security in Schools
Los Angeles, CA- Today, Thursday, October 14th, activists from across the county will gather at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration to protest the misuse of force in schools. They are calling on the Board of Supervisors to Cancel the Contracts they have with the police and other forms of law enforcement and take immediate action in support of police-free schools. October 14th is the birthday of George Floyd, whose murder led to global uprisings against racist policing, and a national day of action for Black Lives Matter at School.
WHEN: Thursday, October 14th at 5pm
WHERE: Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple St. Los Angeles CA 90012
WHO: Cancel the Contract: AV, Police-Free LAUSD, Safer LBUSD Campaign, Pomona Student Union
WHAT: LA County Community Organizers Protest Misuse of Force and Calls for the Board of Supervisors and LACOE to Eliminate Use of Law Enforcement and Armed Security in Schools
Despite the county’s stated intent to advance a “Care First, Jails Last” agenda – especially for LA County’s youth – school districts throughout LA County have consistently failed to uphold that principle. Campaigns and coalitions have emerged throughout the county to demand an end to the criminalization and abuse of students at the hands of school police/resource/safety officers.
Activists and groups will be holding this press conference in response to recent egregious incidents of school police violence – including the brutality experienced by students in the Antelope Valley at the hands of the LA County Sheriffs, the shooting by LAUSD school police officers outside of Carver Middle School, and the fatal shooting of 18 year old Mona Rodriguez near Millikan High School by a school safety officer employed by LBUSD. It is time for the Board of Supervisors in LA County to play a larger role in ushering in an era that prioritizes care first, and punishment last in both our communities and our schools. We are calling for the removal of Sheriff’s/School Resource Officers (SRO) and all armed law enforcement/security from our school campuses, and for The Board of Supervisors to commit to investigating the harms of law enforcement in schools. This is not a moment, this is a movement.
About the Campaigns:
Cancel the Contract is a coalition of community organizations and leaders from the Antelope Valley calling for all AV schools to cancel contracts with the LA Sheriff’s Department and reinvest those dollars in a new vision of community safety and meaningful services for students and the community. The AV Union High School District pays the Sheriff’s Department more than $1.8 million a year to police our schools, and smaller AV districts spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each. We should not be paying for students to be assaulted and violated by Sheriff’s. Those funds should be reinvested in counselors, mentors, librarians, wrap around services, and after school programs.
Gente Organizada & the Pomona Student Union have led the fight against police in Pomona Schools since 2016. In 2021, they presented a report to school officials showing that Black and Latino youth were disproportionately arrested by the Pomona Police. In July 2021, Pomona Unified decided not to renew its contract with Pomona Police and to resolve student issues instead with approaches rooted in de-escalation methods and other mental health resources. Pomona Unified is now considering returning law enforcement to its campuses, and even whether to assign them to middle schools, where research has shown them to be the most harmful. Supported by Public Advocates and ACLU SoCal, Gente Organizada, the Pomona Student Union, and the Pomona community continue to demand Police-Free Schools.
The Safer LBUSD Campaign: In 2020, Black Lives Matter – Long Beach and other community organizations pushed LBUSD to cut their contract with Long Beach PD. However, LBUSD retained armed “school safety officers” on their campuses. In September 2021, a school safety officer fatally shot 18 year old Mona Rodriguez as she was leaving an altercation near a school campus. The Safer LBUSD campaign – led by parents, students, clergy and community organizations that include BLM-LBC, Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network, Californians for Justice, Khmer Girls in Action & more – calls on LBUSD to disarm all school employees; get rid of SSOs and any other school police; and review and remove all punitive punishment, replacing it with restorative practices such as: counselors, social workers, nurses, & arts and cultural activities.
The Police-Free LAUSD Coalition consists of organizations who helped to end willful defiance suspensions, daily random searches, pepper spray, and the militarization of LA school police. Since 2020, they’ve pushed LAUSD to cut $25 million from the nearly $80 million school police budget and invest over $100 million into a Black Student Achievement Plan. The Police-Free LAUSD Steering Committee includes Students Deserve, Black Lives Matter-LA, Brothers Sons Selves, Labor Community Strategy Center, CADRE, InnerCity Struggle, Community Coalition, UTLA, Social Justice Learning Institute, and Reclaim Our Schools LA, with legal/policy support from ACLU SoCal and the Collective for Liberatory Lawyering.