Remove Police from Prince George's County Public Schools

Remove Police from Prince George's County Public Schools

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Shane James started this petition to Prince George's County Public Schools and

To Dr. Monica Goldson, CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools; and the Prince George’s County Board of Education:

In the wake of ongoing demonstrations and national calls for racial justice, we must re-examine our school system’s decision to associate with municipal and county police agencies.

The murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are only the most recent extrajudicial killings by police in this country. Thousands of people have been killed by police in the past few years alone, and demonstrators calling for justice have been repressed with police violence. This violence disproportionately targets working class Black- and brown-majority communities like our own in Prince George’s County. Despite decades of attempted and failed police reforms, police agencies in our country continue to elevate themselves above the law and oppress our communities.

Our school district, like many other districts serving majority-Black and brown students, employs “School Resource Officers” (SROs) in public schools. SROs are connected to local police agencies and often employ similar protocols that underlie racially unjust policing practices. These practices include “use of force” guidelines, racial profiling, and the escalation of violence. Studies have consistently shown that increased policing, especially in academic settings, creates an environment where students feel unsafe, are criminalized, and are subjected to the school-to-prison pipeline. 

Civil rights organizations such as the ACLU, the NAACP, and the Southern Poverty Law Center have criticized SRO programs for escalating violence in schools. These groups and education activists have called for significant limitations or the removal of SROs from public schools. Several major school districts such as Minneapolis, Portland, Denver, and Chicago are now debating or have moved forward with plans to remove police from public schools. Advocates have argued that funds going towards police should be redirected to mental health services, counselors, social workers, and other social services that help children thrive.

Our school district has recently faced challenges from civil rights groups for its “heavy use of harmful and ineffective exclusionary disciplinary practices, often in violation of governing law.” Only one year ago, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund explained in a letter to PGCPS that, “[a]lthough Black students account for 58 percent of student enrollment in PGCPS, they make up 78 percent of those experiencing out-of-school removals. Similarly, students with Individualized Education Plans comprise only 11 percent of enrollment, but 24 percent of those removed.” These disparities are similar to those found in other large Black- and brown-majority school districts where policing schools is the norm. It is time that we heed the call of civil rights leaders and the broader community to end the school-to-prison pipeline.

Prince George’s County Public Schools has already begun a shift towards restorative justice, PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports), hiring more counselors, trauma-informed teaching, and peer mediation as normative practices to create a safe learning environment in our schools. In a statement published on June 2nd, 2020, PGCPS CEO Dr. Monica Goldson stated that, “our commitment, as a school system, to equity, social justice, diversity and inclusion among our core values.” Furthermore, Dr. Goldson wrote that, “we aim to ensure our students and staff have the tools they need to contribute to communities confronting institutional racism, bias and discrimination.” If these statements are true, then we as a school district must take the next step necessary to supporting the safety and well-being of our children - ending our partnerships with the police.

Prince George’s County Public Schools should end the School Resource Officer program and other partnerships with local police agencies. #BlackLivesMatter #AbolishICE #NoMoreSROs

0 have signed. Let’s get to 10,000!
At 10,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get a reaction from the decision maker!