Shared Safety Over Policing in Stockton Unified School District #PoliceFreeSchools
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A CALL FOR POLICE-FREE SCHOOLS & COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT IN STOCKTON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
NOTICE: MONEY DONATED TO CHANGE.ORG DOES NOT GO TOWARD OUR CAMPAIGN
Stockton students, youth leaders, and community groups are calling for Stockton Unified School District (SUSD) to end its contracts with its own police department and/or any law enforcement agencies, and instead reinvest the over $8 million budget (currently spent on said contracts) toward student support professionals and critical educational opportunities. This includes, but is not limited to, hiring counselors, teaching and facilitating Ethnic Studies, and implementing healing-centered staff and models that are rooted in Restorative and Transformative justice frameworks.
Students are reimagining what school safety means using the Blueprint for Shared Safety, whose guiding principles embody what it means to invest in the whole child from a public health lens.
- SUSD is 1 of only 21 school districts across the state of California that fund school district police.
- When examining the history of school policing in Stockton, we find evidence of a significant, disproportionate, and detrimental impact on the lives of Black and Brown students.
- Yielding the highest rates of children and youth arrest, SUSD alone is responsible for 89% of arrests of children under the age of 10 in Stockton.
- According to the Criminal Justice Statistics Center (CJSC), in 2013, Stockton was 1 of 2 cities that had arrest rates for children under 10 that were 24 times that of the rest of CA.
- In Stockton between 1991-2013, 1,510 children under the age of 10 were arrested by the school district police. Of those 1,510, nearly 22% were cited with felonies, the remainder were cited with misdemeanor status offenses.
- Stockton’s rates were 37 times higher than the rest of CA. During the 2015-2016 school year, SUSD made the decision to de-prioritize student mental health services by moving money allocated for mental health into security and policing efforts.
- When money in the budget was allocated towards transformative justice alternatives such as counseling and mental health services, the positive results were clear. In 2016, SUSD saw a 32% decrease in the total number of citations and bookings.
The cradle-to-prison pipeline has become a material reality for Stockton’s children as a direct result of the school district’s consistent investment of millions of dollars into law enforcement, increased involvement of young people with the criminal justice system, and the practice of referring students directly to school-based resource officers as opposed to counselors or other vital support staff. The school district’s efforts to strengthen relationships with the police department have not only diverted critical funds from important services proven to improve student health and wellbeing, but also have caused valid concern for many youth in Stockton about their capacity to thrive both in and out of school.
Divesting away from SUSD PD is the first step to promoting shared safety in our communities. We demand to see it replaced with comprehensive survivor-oriented, trauma-informed, and transformational healing-centered options of support. We call upon the Stockton Unified School Board of Trustees to courageously follow the example of school districts like those in Minneapolis, Oakland and West Contra Costa, which have decisively terminated their contracts with the local and school district police department, thereby abolishing police presence from their school campuses. We too, look forward to the bright future of Stockton’s youth when our schools move in the same direction.
We are demanding that SUSD join our colleagues in the movement for #PoliceFreeSchools & to #PromoteSharedSafety by COMPLETELY ABOLISHING ITS POLICE DEPARTMENT and REALLOCATING FUNDS to positive and healthy alternatives by August 31, 2020. A team of parents, students, teachers, school administrators, student support staff, and other crucial community partners shall be created to support with this transition and complete a report with a plan of action no later than December 31, 2020.
4 WAYS TO TAKE ACTION:
By the next boarding meeting on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 @ 6 PM, please:
STEP 1: Sign and share this petition.
STEP 2: Send a public comment to email@example.com declaring your support of the resolution and why you believe in #PoliceFreeSchools and why they should #PromoteSharedSafety. Let them know how you, your parents, children, and communities feel about the harmful criminalization of Stockton’s youth.*
* This is a public comment template to help you get started: https://tinyurl.com/ya96lkr3. Please make sure to click "Allow" on iPhone, or "Create email." Feel free to edit it as much as you’d like!
STEP 3: Call and email your trustees! tinyurl.com/CallSUSD
STEP 4: Attend our Zoom Town Hall to learn more about this work, why your public comment is crucial, and tips for writing one!
Zoom Town Hall: Sunday, June 21, 2020 @ 2:30 PM (Juneteenth Weekend!)
Register Today For Town Hall: tinyurl.com/NoSUSDPD
Email Us: firstname.lastname@example.org
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