Remove Oakland school police and reinvest in student support programs.

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Board Members London, Hinton-Hodge, Harris, and Yee, and Superintendent Trammel:

The Oakland Unified School District was faced with making a decision to cut $20M from Oakland school budgets for the 20-21 school year. We demand that you cut the Oakland School Police Department as a part of these budget cuts. Furthermore, we demand that you reinvest the OSPD budget into student support programs as proposed by the Black Organizing Project's “George Floyd Resolution to Eliminate the Oakland Schools Police Department.”

According to the Black Organizing Project, “the proposed resolution would eliminate the Department and the sworn officers. It would direct the Superintendent to reallocate funds previously used for sworn police officers toward student support positions such as school-based social workers, psychologists, restorative justice practitioners, or other mental or behavioral health professionals, as the budget supports, to meet the needs of students. It would also direct the Superintendent to launch, by no later than July 17, 2020, an inclusive, community-driven process – involving parents, students, teachers, school administrators, student support staff, the Black Organizing Project, and other community partners – for completing a revised District safety plan with strategies for enhancing student learning, safety, and well-being within the District.”

Oakland is the only district in all of Alameda County that has its own police department. The Oakland School Police Department and other school security costs OUSD a combined $6M+. However, school policing services have proven to be ineffective in both reducing school crime and improving student safety, and actually traumatize particularly students of color. It is unacceptable that essential student programs are cut and basic essentials like paper are insufficient at our schools while we overspend on obsolete policing that only serves to reinforce the systemic racism of policing practices and bolster the Oakland school-to-prison pipeline. It is unacceptable that while black students only make up 26% of those enrolled in OUSD, they make up 73% of student arrests.

Board Member Yee, you specifically said to teacher Katherine Bailey in an email recently that you have "interviewed several principals, and they feel that OUSD police have not been hostile or triggering for most students." This statement is simply false. OSPD has a deeply racist history with the killing of Raheim Brown, the lack of consequences for his death, the words and actions of former chief Sarna, and the brutal police attack upon student Jonathan Rodriguez and subsequent failure to produce evidence. In addition, given recent events and the protests against police brutality across the nation, anxiety and intimidation due to police presence in our schools will have amplified effects.

It is past time for this unnecessary, corrupt, and deeply racist department to be eliminated.