Oakland Unified School District trustees have adopted a resolution to remove police from local campuses, a district spokesman said.
The final vote this past Wednesday on the historic George Floyd Resolution to Eliminate the Oakland School Police Department comes after the initial one in June.
At least some officers will be on the payroll beyond 2020 but no police will be on any campus in the new year and after that.
“Since our founding, our community has fought to end the criminalization of Black and Brown young people, and ensure Black Sanctuary by investing in alternative models of school safety,” said Jackie Byers, founding executive director of the Black Organizing Project, in a statement.
“Together, we have shown what Black organizing that centers the needs and vision of Black communities can make possible.”Jackie Byers, Black Organizing Project
“Together, we have shown what Black organizing that centers the needs and vision of Black communities can make possible,” Byers said.
Proponents of the George Floyd resolution aim to disrupt what has been a criminalization of Black students and a school-to-prison pipeline for them in local schools.
Black students represent 76 percent of all students that school police arrested in the last four years while Black students make up just 26 percent of local students, according to the Black Organizing Project.
Proponents provided just a few details of the new plan for school safety, called the Reasonable Compliance Safety Plan, but did say that it is meant to shift school discipline practices, culture, and climate.
“The Reasonable Compliance Safety Plan gives educators in Oakland a critical opportunity to examine how our practices contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline that is devastating our Black families,” said Keith Brown, President of the Oakland Education Association, in a statement.
“We are grateful for this call to find alternatives for policing on campuses rooted in anti-racism and accountability, and to have BOP’s leadership in this movement.”
Alternatives to police response
Over the course of two to three years, BOP will collaborate with the district to come up with non-police responses to discipline in schools. Those responses will be based in trauma-informed de-escalation.
“To truly transform systems and ensure that Black students are free from racism, implicit bias, fear and physical danger, OUSD must commit to culturally-responsive, trauma-informed de-escalation strategies enacted by trusted adults to respond effectively and compassionately to school discipline issues,” said Jessica Black, organizing director for BOP, in a statement.
She added that removing police is not enough when Oakland police are just a phone call away.
The next steps in fulfilling the George Floyd resolution include equity training for all school personnel, changing school climate and culture, building those de-escalation skills, and monitoring the George Floyd resolution.
Oakland Unified School District spokesman John Sasaki said a lot of the new safety plan is in place and a big part of it is reconditioning staff members, who were calling police many times when calls to police were unnecessary.
The task of removing all police from schools will take some time, Sasaki said.
“A police department, even one the relatively small size of Oakland School Police Department, cannot be shut down overnight,” he said.
For example, guns and vehicles need to be disposed of among other things. That cannot be done this year while police are still working.
He said, “We look forward to continuing to work with BOP and the community as we implement our new safety plan, and our students return to campus as we all move beyond the pandemic.”