Oakland School Board Votes to Eliminate District Police
In an unanimous vote, Oakland Unified School District’s board passed the “George Floyd Resolution to Eliminate Oakland Schools Police Department” on Wednesday.
- By Yvonne Marquez
- June 26, 2020
In an unanimous vote, Oakland Unified School District’s board passed the “George Floyd Resolution to Eliminate Oakland Schools Police Department” on Wednesday. The annual $2.5 million spent on sworn officers and personnel is expected to be used for school counselors, social workers, student support services and restorative justice efforts instead, reports Mercury News.
Black Organizing Project, a community organization working for racial, social, and economic justice, drafted the resolution and brought it to the board. The group has been organizing to remove police from schools for the last 10 years.
Many of the speakers at the board’s meeting supported the resolution and spoke about how Black and brown students do not feel safe with police on campus. Oakland Unified spent more than $9 million on its police department from 2013-2018. Black students make up 26% of the district’s student population yet make up 73% of arrests, according to the board’s resolution.
An added amendment to the resolution stated that teachers and staff, including the board members, will be trained in anti-racism and unconscious or implicit bias.
Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell has until Dec. 31 to create a new alternative safety plan with input from a committee of community members.
“We must remember that the creation of a thoughtful and inclusive process for developing an alternative safety plan is far deeper and more complex than just the removal of school district police,” Johnson-Trammell told the East Bay Times.
Chief Jeff Godown told the East Bay Times he is supportive of the plan to remove the district police department. “It’s time to try something new,” he said. “Something is broken in the system when police have to respond and come to an educational institutional.”
The department gets about 1,000 calls per semester. About 300 of those calls are serious crimes like robberies and sexual assaults that require immediate responses and would be routed to the Oakland Police Department. The other 700 calls are less severe, like confrontations between students or students not wanting to attend class. This is where the alternative safety plan comes in, Godown says.
Yvonne Marquez is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.