Stop Bill Requiring NJ Kids Be Taught to Interact With Police From Becoming Law
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Incorporating the police into our mandatory curriculum is a direct push towards the school-to-prison pipeline.
This past Thursday, The New Jersey State Assembly passed legislation that would require schools to teach children how to interact with police. Sponsored by veteran Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver, Assembly Bill A1114 passed 76-0, according to the New Jersey State Legislature’s Office of Legislative Services.
The bill, passing during a time of high profile, police involved shootings and non-convictions of officers, mandates that school districts teach children how to talk to police offices as early as kindergarten.
"This bill is designed to create a scapegoat for police brutality, and that scapegoat is New Jersey children,” said Alexis Miller, lead organizer of the Paterson Chapter of Black Lives Matter. "Instead of addressing the laws that protect the immense power of police departments, students are expected to master respectability politics in order to protect themselves from officers. "
In fact, when the legislation was first introduced in 2016, the bill mandated only that children be taught "the role and responsibilities of a law enforcement official in providing for public safety; and an individual’s responsibilities to comply with a directive from a law enforcement official.” It was not until activists criticized the bill for placing the responsibility on children did an additional component become added. The amended version of the bill requires children be taught about "an individual’s rights under law in interacting with a law enforcement official.”
However, the bill continues to place the onus on police interactions on individuals and allows police to continue to evade accountability.
"Everyone needs to understand that creating cordial bonds between officers and the community does not negate an officer’s authority to use force. It is simply an illusion,” Miller said. "Our students should be in the classroom learning measurable subjects and our tax dollars should go towards STEM, the arts, and inclusive history."
BLM Paterson is asking supporters to sign our petition and call NJ Senators to encourage a No vote.
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