“Black Students, Parents, Teachers And Allies Have Demanded That We Interrupt The School-To-Prison Pipeline.” -Mónica García, School Board Member
By Ashlee Banks, ESSENCE
Schools in Los Angeles will soon see changes now that the Board of Education has approved plans to reallocate millions of dollars from the school police budget to fund the achievement of Black students.
The new plan, which was approved on Tuesday, February 16, will take $36.5 million away from the school police force and apply it to the Black Student Achievement Plan. The program will be available at 53 schools that host a large number of Black students who are performing poorly in subjects like math and English, according to The Associated Press.
In order to fund this initiative, the board plans to cut 70 sworn officers, 62 non-sworn officers and a Los Angeles School Police Department staff position, reports The Los Angeles Times. The new plan will also prohibit officers from using pepper spray on students.
This change comes on the heels of many activists calling for police reform during global protests over the death of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis officers on May 25, 2020.
A lot of the money being reallocated to the Black Student Achievement plan will be used to hire “climate coaches,” according to the AP. These coaches, “will provide students with an advocate on campus who is trained and focused on implementing positive school culture and climate, using socio-emotional learning strategies to strengthen student engagement, applying effective de escalation strategies to support conflict resolution, building positive relationships and elevating student voice, eliminating racial disproportionality in school discipline practices, and understanding and addressing implicit bias,” the news outlet reports.
“Investments and behaviors must be different if we want outcomes to be different,” said Mónica García, a member of the L.A. school board. “Black students, parents, teachers and allies have demanded that we interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.”
“I have heard the concerns of Black students who have felt targeted by school police,” added Jackie Goldberg, another board member. “I believe there are creative ways to keep our schools safe that don’t rely on having an officer stationed on campus.”
This article originally appeared in ESSENCE.