SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento City Unified School District is taking police officers out of its schools.
On Thursday, the Board of Education approved a budget for the upcoming school year that does not include any money for school resource officers with the Sacramento Police Department.
“There is no designation of funds for Sac PD in the budget,” school board President Jessie Ryan said.
It’s a move activists like Alma Lopez, an organizer with Brown Issues, have been calling for for years.
“School policing in our campuses is inherently part of the school to prison pipeline,” Lopez said. “So this is an action that can undo a racist policy which is policing in our schools.”
According to a report from the ACLU compiling U.S. Department of Education statistics, Black students were arrested three times as often as White students and schools with police reported 3.5 times as many arrests as schools without officers.
“It’s so important that we’re shifting our mindset about what safety looks like because what our students really need are support services and social workers,” Lopez said.
The school board has slowly been reducing the number of officers in recent years. There used to be one in every high school but this last year there were just three school resource officers and one sergeant.
“I think it’s a colossal mistake, frankly. I think it will have long-term implications,” former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinnis said.
McGinnis used to work as a school resource officer and said he worries removing them will leave students unprotected.
“You’re talking about vulnerable, young kids who need to be able to get through that part of life protected and to have a basic fundamental safeguard of their wellbeing on campus,” he said.
The school board says the $600,000 that previously paid for the resource officers will now go toward alternative safety plans, instructing the superintendent to create a task force of community leaders, parents, staff and students to figure out how to use the money.
But Ryan said the work to fight inequities in schools is just getting started.
“Recognizing the role systemic racism plays in the classroom, on the school site and in every level of our education system,” Ryan said.
The school district declined to comment Tuesday but the police department said in a statement to FOX40, “The safety of our community, including our schools, will always be a priority.”