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Los Angeles Schools Divert Funding from Policing

Los Angeles Schools Divert Funding from Policing

Credit: Unsplash

The money will be put toward aiding Black students.

Schools around the country have been making strides toward combating systemic racism against Black and Latino students. Numerous schools employ security personel or contract police officers to maintain safety on campus, but there have been numerous instances of these officers abusing these authorities and disproportionately punishing students of particular races and ethnicities. After last year’s protests against the deaths of people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks, school boards have been taking matters into their own hands and personally removing police presences from their campuses, with notable examples including school boards in Oakland, Milwaukee and Denver. Today, Los Angeles will be joining this movement.

On Tuesday, the Board of Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District voted to cut the funding of the Los Angeles School Police Department by $25 million, removing around 133 jobs in the process. This money will be diverted to the Black Student Achievement Plan, an initiative that seeks to aid Black students by improving literacy, empowering communities, and in the board’s words, reduce the “over-identification of Black students in suspensions, discipline and other measures.” As an additional security measure, the use of pepper spray against students by police officers has been banned.

“We are taking an important step in the right direction to provide Black students with vital investments in their success — with millions of dollars going toward academic support, social-emotional resources, and a new approach to school climate and safety,” said school board member Nick Melvoin. “This student and community driven action was long overdue.”

When she received word of the budget cuts, LA School Police Chief Leslie Ramirez didn’t seem especially surprised or upset. “From the onset, the depth and significance of this action was obvious and today’s decision brings the realism of a forthcoming LASPD reform to our service delivery model,” she said.

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