Youth advocates call for removal of police officers at schools, relocation of funds

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A diverse coalition of youth advocates rallied in the front of the Sacramento City Unified School District, calling for an end to police officers assigned to school campuses.

Alma Lopez, the statewide coordinator for Brown Issues, set forth their demands.

“We’re here to demand the district and the board, one, that they make a public pledge to end future contracts with law enforcement,” Lopez explained. “Two, that they implement an alternative safety plan that’s designed by our young people, parents and community. An alternative safety plan that’s investing in the resources that our young people really need.”

The school district currently pays the Sacramento Police Department $900,000 a year for four officers. 

The group listed where they’d like that money reallocated.

“Social workers, bilingual staff, mental health supports, academic supports. We gotta prepare our young people to go to college,” Lopez said. “And three, we ask the board to make a public pledge to not take any money from police unions.”

Many of those gathered wore shirts with the “Schools, Not Prisons” logo, arguing that the law enforcement presence on campuses is more harmful than helpful.

“Because we are predominately students of color and low income, we seem to be over-criminalized,” activist Carl Pinkston said.

A school district spokesperson told FOX40 the district is aware of the concerns the group raised. 

The district reduced the number of school resource officers from eight to four in November 2019. The officers’ training includes implicit bias, procedural justice, gender and deaf awareness and crisis intervention.

The current contract ends on June 30.  

“They have put a number of statements about institutional racism, the racism in our education system,” Lopez explained. “But this is the time where they can act and not just pay lip service to our young people and the people they need to serve.”

While budget talks to address a potential $57 million deficit are on upcoming agendas, the school district says the police contract is not listed as up for discussion.

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