End Police Presence in Kalamazoo Public Schools
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Due to ongoing police violence nationwide and in light of recent local events that have demonstrated law enforcement’s disregard for the safety of our youth, it has become clear that the presence of police in our students’ learning environment is inherently unsafe.
PACCT and community partners are calling on Kalamazoo Public Schools to immediately terminate SRO agreements with local law enforcement agencies and immediately remove any law enforcement personnel that are assigned to or otherwise routinely present in school buildings or on school property or during regular school hours and any school-run events and activities. This applies not only to School Resource Officers (SROs) but also to any law enforcement official, affiliate, contractor, or staff that:
- Has the power to arrest, detain, interrogate, question, fine or ticket students on municipal code, juvenile, criminal or immigration-related matter and/or has the power to punish youth for violations of probation or parole
- Carries any type of weapon, including but not limited to a firearm, baton, taser, rubber bullets, bean bags, mace, pepper/OC spray, and/or carry handcuffs or other forms of restraint.
- Reports to, is certified by, or receives training from a police department, including personnel who can report students to a gang database or other police databases.
The District must further limit cases when law enforcement is present in schools by instituting policies that prohibit staff from calling the police for:
- Disruptive behavior
- Fighting that does not involve a deadly weapon or an immediate threat to other students
- Perceived drunkenness or intoxication
- Possession of controlled substances not intended for distribution
- Participation in protests, demonstrations or other political activities
- Any other behavior or activity that does not pose a real and immediate physical threat (unless otherwise required by state law)
In the event that the police are called, or if any law enforcement agent requests to enter school property, policies and procedures must clearly outline that:
- All law enforcement agents must notify the school before requesting to enter school property
- Law enforcement is prohibited from entering for the purpose of fining, ticketing, responding to warrants, or arresting students on school grounds for non-school related incidents.
- School staff will immediately notify parents/guardians when a law enforcement official is, or is expected to, have interaction with a student.
- School staff will intervene to prevent law enforcement from approaching, interrogating, or questioning any student before a parent or guardian can be notified
- School staff will inform students of their rights and provide them an opportunity to contact legal counsel and/or another trusted adult, selected by the student, prior to any interrogation by the police
- School staff will protect students’ and parents’ right to record police activities
Eliminating police presence is a necessary safety measure and an important step in eliminating the School to Prison Pipeline, but more work is required to create a safe and equitable educational experience for our students. While the district divests in policing and programs that support punitive discipline, KPS must commit to and INVEST in positive approaches to building a safe school climate by:
- Working with stakeholders to create a school safety plan,
- Promoting a youth and parent leadership, with access and authority given to monitor, evaluate, and advise the district on ongoing efforts toward creating a safe and supportive school culture.
- Expanding opportunities for individuals and organizations within the community to be present and active in schools
- Providing ongoing training and support for all school staff in positive approaches to school climate and discipline, including Trauma-informed practices, Conflict resolution and peer mediation, De-escalation techniques, Restorative and transformative justice practices, Cultural competencies (including understanding and addressing racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, adultism/ageism, and other implicit and explicit biases)
PACCT looks forward to Kalamazoo Public Schools' response, anticipating the District's agreeance with the community on the need to protect and support our children.
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