Minneapolis public schools are considering ending their contract with the city police after George Floyd’s death.
The city’s public school board will vote Tuesday night on a decision to terminate the school district’s contract with the police department to provide “school officials” and to instruct the superintendent to develop an alternative student safety plan.
Public schools “cannot work with organizations that do not see the humanity of our students,” wrote Josh Pauly, Minneapolis School Board, who helped draft the resolution, on Twitter last week.
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The school district cannot adapt [the Minneapolis police department] and claim to fight institutional racism, ”said Paulyadded.
While the school board “has no ability or authority to arrest and prosecute the officials who murdered George Floyd, we have the option to broadcast [the police department] A very clear message, not only through public statements, but also through measures, ”he said.
The Minneapolis teachers’ union has approved the change, urging city schools to “remove all financial ties to the police” and instead invest in additional support for student mental health.
“Minneapolis Police Department officials have become symbols of fear for the children, whom these officials have sworn to serve and protect,” said two union officials in a statement last week.
Pauly, a member of the school board, informed the Guardian that he had received hundreds of emails and phone calls from students in Minneapolis to help end the school district’s relationship with the police.
Other members of the school board across the country – including districts in Arizona, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, New York and Illinois – have also made private efforts to assist in the development of similar resolutions, he said.
A vote to end the Minneapolis School contract with the police would be a great victory for activists across the country who have worked to remove all police officers from schools.
“It’s a very special group of people who feel safe with the police, but most black and brown children don’t feel safe with the police in schools,” said Jackie Byers, executive director of the Black Organizing Project, which has been in place since 2011 Stop using police officers in public schools in Oakland, including asking teachers and administrators to undertake not to call the police on their students.
School districts “need to see someone step forward,” said Byers. “People are afraid to be the first district to do something.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2015-2016), more than 70% of public secondary schools and 30% of elementary schools in the U.S. have sworn in law enforcement officers who routinely carry firearms.
“In San Francisco, we had 10-year-olds called by the police. Kindergarten teachers. 5th graders,” said Neva Walker, executive director of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, a nonprofit group focused on creating fairer public schools.
“We have to overcome the idea that the police are the means to protect our children, especially for black and brown students,” she said.
For decades, school shootings, typically carried out by young white men, have caused the American government to invest hundreds of millions of tax dollars in housing armed law enforcement officers in schools.
However, studies have shown that more students enter the criminal justice system when there are more police officers in schools, which has raised concerns among some advocates that trying to protect American children from mass shootings has inadvertently fueled a school-to-prison pipeline that did Color disproportionately harmed students.
Breaking this cycle was not easy. A “critically important” step forward, Byers said, had come from the University of Minnesota, which announced “immediate changes” in its relationship with the Minneapolis police department after widespread protests against Floyd’s death.
The president of the university, Joan Gabel, said in a letter last week that the university would no longer work with the police to ensure the safety of football matches, concerns, and other major events, and that it would cooperate with the police on a common basis Cooperation would limit patrols and investigations “that directly improve the security of our community”.
The university’s relationship with other police departments in other cities where it has campuses will remain unchanged, a spokesman said.
The Minneapolis police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.