A protest in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday demanded that the Los Angeles School Police Department, which protects public schools from gang violence and mass shootings, be abolished.
Last week, the United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District, joined a Black Lives Matter demonstration to demand that the school police, a unionized workforce of fewer than 500 officers, be disbanded.
That demonstration was followed Tuesday by a march to a school board meeting where the school police had not actually been on the agenda, as the Los Angeles Times reported:
Hundreds of students, parents and community members gathered in front of a downtown L.A. high school Tuesday, calling for the elimination of the Los Angeles School Police Department, a force of about 470 officers and civilians.
The rally and march began at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, just west of downtown, and ended at the nearby school district headquarters during an L.A. Board of Education meeting. The future of school policing,however, was not on the posted agenda of the closed-door session.
Student speakers at the rally expressed pain and fear they experience from the school police presence and their frustration over the lack of much needed services. They also called for greater diversity among teachers.
Thandiwe Abdullah, 16, a recent graduate of the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, said “I hated my school,” and criticized the administration for assigning a white instructor to teach ethnic studies, for placing her in classes with only two Black teachers from middle school through high school, and for involving school police officers who made her feel criminalized, rather than a psychiatric social worker, when she needed support.
The Times reported in February 2018 — before the infamous Parkland high school shooting later that month — that the Los Angeles School Police Department was an important part of preventing school shootings, and that schools were often safer than the neighborhoods around them as a result of the police force’s presence.
Separately on Tuesday, members of the Los Angeles City Council introduced a motion to replace ordinary police with an unarmed crisis response team for “non-violent calls for service,” according to local Fox affiliate KTTV 11.
Earlier this month, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced cuts of up to $150 million to the Los Angeles Police Department, amounting to over 10% of the police budget. The money ws to be redistributed to spending in “communities of color.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.