Police Free LAUSD Coalition Offers $$, Solutions to LA Schools’ Over Policing of Minority Students

By Avery Redula

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Police Free LAUSD Coalition this week said its goal is to remove police presence on Los Angeles Unified School District campuses and instead offer alternative, safer resources and staff, and are putting money and ideas into the initiative.

This comes from the voices of minority students who feel they are racially targeted and prone to violent police escalations, making their school environment unsafe and uncomfortable, said Police Free LAUSD Coalition.

The LAUSD has had a police-enforced campus for more than 70 years, and the Police Free LAUSD Coalition’s website lists several instances of police violence within the district that have led minority students to feel unsafe, rather than protected, by law enforcement.

The coalition details a 15-year-old student who was fatally shot in 2021, but LAUSD police attributed a violent incident to gang activity in attempts to scapegoat the minority students at these schools.

As an organization, the Police Free LAUSD Coalition said its mission is to value the needs and communities of minorities in their school environment.

In its guiding values report, the coalition details the hardships Black and Brown students already experience due to “racial systemic barriers,” including lack of access to safe housing or toxic stress caused by being minorities in America. The coalition notes that in order to make schools more safe for minorities, racial equity must be established through alternative methods of policing.

The coalition maintains the solution to solving conflicts and violence within the LAUSD include teaching methods of appropriate conflict-resolution and de-escalation techniques. In addition, the coalition believes social workers, counselors and restorative justice workers are, “best equipped to prevent community violence.”

A 2019 survey by the Brother Sons Selves Coalition revealed “73 percent of Black youth described school police officers as overly aggressive,” said the Coalition.

The Police Free LAUSD Coalition  also cites a study that, “ … even one school resource officer in schools on a weekly basis increases the likelihood of students becoming involved in the juvenile criminal system, especially Black, Brown, undocumented, and marginalized students.”

In response to campus police violence the coalition states, “We cannot prevent violence by introducing more weapons and more violence in schools, particularly when our Black, Indigenous, and other students of color will be forced to bear the brunt of it.”

The Police Free LAUSD Coalition urges the LAUSD Board of Education Members and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho to join their reform efforts. In particular, the organization calls for the expansion of community-based safety initiatives and the funding of safety programs and mental health services. They also ask for the complete elimination of the LA School Police Department.

Due to the fear police can cause in LAUSD minority communities and the possible criminal activity it can inspire rather than solve, the Police Free coalition believes in implementing alternative teaching methods and new staff, and is investing $25 million into the Black Student Achievement Plan rather than policing in order to create a more welcoming and safe campus environment.

About The Author

Avery Redula is a second year at UC Davis studying English. After undergrad she plans to attend law school, where she can pursue criminal law. She is most interested in cases regarding domestic violence and gang violence, as she learned from her summers spent at the DA's office that they are issues that most affect her home county of San Joaquin.

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