Oakland students march, succeed in abolishing the district’s internal police department
Black students only make up 26% of the student population, but 73% of arrests.
On Wednesday June 10, students from the Oakland Unified School District and the Black Organizing Project marched to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff’s house to demand that the school district’s police department be eliminated. Students want more money for teachers and less for police.
Peaceful protesters said that police on campus have been using racial profiling against students and that the profiling and harassment is making it difficult for even the best of students to focus and do their best work.
According to the Black Organizing Project, Black students only make up 26% of the student population, but make up 73% of the arrests.
Starting in July, Oakland Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell will hold a meeting of community members and school stakeholders to create a new “school safety plan.”
The Minneapolis Board of Education unanimously agreed to stop allowing members of the Minneapolis Police Department to serve as school resource officers, just days after the murder of George Floyd. And Portland and Denver recently said they will no longer allow city police departments to patrol their schools.
Philadelphia has taken less drastic measures, instead considering to rename school police “safety officers” and unarming them.
Youth advocates in California have spent over a decade trying to put an end to what is known as the “school-to-prison pipeline,” the disturbing trend where children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
On June 25, the school board finally voted to cut ties with the police department. The school police chief, Jeff Goodwin, is in full support of the decision and is ready to see the school try something different.
“I assume when you talk to a lot of police and chiefs, they probably tell you that the world’s going to come to an end and everything’s going to be horrible if we don’t have police in schools. My answer to you is they’re wrong,” he said.
The George Floyd Resolution To Eliminate Schools Police Department passed on Wednesday with a vote of 7-0. The district will eliminate its police department by the end of the year and hire more social workers, psychologists and other “restorative justice practitioners.”
Police officers do not belong in high schools. This is a big step in the right direction for students of color that have been experiencing racism from police in the school system.