More Schools Are Ending Contracts With Cops Following Protests Over The Killing Of George Floyd
from the more-good-news-all-around dept
Putting cops in schools has proven to be a disaster. Treating discipline problems like criminal acts has turned students into criminals and placed vulnerable kids in the hands of sadists who feel force deployment and power flexing are the best responses to common in-school issues.
The latest public response to the killing of an unarmed black man by a white cop has supercharged the debate over police presence in schools. The flash point for these demonstrations acted first. The Minneapolis school board dumped its contract with the police department and at least one state college followed suit.
It’s now happening elsewhere. C.J. Ciaramella reports for Reason that Portland, Oregon’s schools will no longer play host to local police officers.
School resource officers (SROs) will no longer patrol the halls of K–12 public schools in Portland, Oregon—the latest major city to announce, in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, that it’s pulling police out of schools.
Portland Mayor Tom Wheeler announced Thursday that the Portland Police Bureau would be disbanding its Youth Services Division and reassigning all its officers. “Leaders must listen and respond to [the] community,” Wheeler tweeted.
The $1 million budget will be distributed to more of the community, supporting counselors and social workers better equipped to handle school disciplinary issues.
The contracts are dominoes. Minneapolis knocked its over and others are following. Reason reports another college — Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts — has also discontinued its partnership with local law enforcement.
And there’s more on the way. Denver, Colorado may be the next major city to end its participation in the school-to-prison pipeline.
From on top of a trailer mounted with massive speakers, Denver Public School Board Secretary Tay Anderson stopped a Black Lives Matter march a few blocks in on Sunday to make an announcement many were hoping for.
“Director Jennifer Bacon (vice president of the school board) and I are proud to announce we have the votes to officially end the contract with DPD (Denver Police Department) and DPS (Denver Public Schools),” Anderson said to cheers and applause. “We still will have safe and welcoming schools for all. It is our time to end the school to prison pipeline with bold actions.”
Prince George, Maryland has already dumped its contracts with cops, citing the numerous negative effects of this unhealthy relationship.
During a virtual budget committee meeting Monday night, members voted to cancel the board’s school resource officer contract with the Prince George’s County Police Department and all other police departments in the county, citing research showing that their presence in schools is often associated with higher rates of suspensions, expulsions, and arrests.
Edmonds, Washington is considering the same thing, although the board seems less inclined to move swiftly or decisively.
At the Edmonds School Board’s June 9 business meeting, the board of directors had a lengthy discussion on whether the district should renew contracts with local law enforcement to provide police officers — known as school resource officers or SROs — on high school campuses. Instead, the board would take time to review whether having SROs on campuses is in the best interest of students’ safety.
There will be more as the weeks go on. Activists are seizing this moment to push for the end of contracts in multiple cities around the nation. It’s going to be pretty difficult for city and school administrators to push back, now that they can’t conveniently ignore the violence perpetrated by police officers on adults. Continuing to allow an occupation now mostly known for biased tactics and excessive force deployment to handle children would be incredibly irresponsible.