133 police officers have been cut from schools following a decision by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in an effort to promote racial equity, according to a Fox News report.
The school board approved a plan to divert $25 million dollars from its policing budget to a proposed “Black Student Achievement Plan.”
Los Angeles Police Chief Leslie Ramirez acknowledged at the school board meeting that the number of police officers at schools has already been brought down to 211. However, board member Jackie Goldberg assured that the department would not be totally dismantled, and officers would still be monitoring schools and responding to emergencies.
Following the death of George Floyd and the #FundBlackFutures movement, schools around the nation are trying to do more to improve racial equity. To ensure this outcome, a coalition of student advocacy groups, including Black Lives Matter, Brothers Sons Selves, and Students Deserve, are putting forward plans to defund the police and reinvest law enforcement money into disadvantaged minority communities.
In Los Angeles, a total of $36.5M, consisting of the police budget as well as part of next year’s general budget, will be funneled into racial equity programs like the Black Student Achievement Plan.
Board President Kelly Gonez said about the move, “Student safety is everyone’s responsibility and starts with creating a school environment that is centered in students’ social-emotional wellbeing. The Board’s investment in the Black Student Achievement Plan ensures we are actively working to promote equity across the District.”
However, many are worried that this will lead to a safety issues on school campuses. The LA Times reported that a district-commissioned survey revealed that students, parents, and staff generally had a positive view of school police, and nearly a quarter of parents were opposed to the decision, with black parents and students generally holding more negative views about the police.
Board member George Mckenna, the only Black member, was opposed to the decision to defund the police, saying, “The parents expect us to have safe schools. If you think the police are the problem, I think you got a problem yourself.”
The diverted funds, according to the LA Times, will go to hiring support staff, counsellors, nurses, and “climate coaches” who are responsible for resolving and de-escalating conflict, eliminating racial disparities from school discipline practices, and “addressing implicit bias.” The board plans to focus the funding on schools with a larger black student population.