Los Angeles Community Center Makes a Case for Less Police in School in the wake of Newton
The tragic events of Newton stunned the nation and undoubtedly influenced the country’s rising discussion on armed guards patrolling our children’s schools. The Community Rights Campaign, a civil rights/human rights organization dedicated to eradicating mass incarceration in the United States, believes Los Angeles schools are experiencing an extreme impact (armed police officers on school campuses) from that conversation which could prove to be immensely damaging to the futures of our children within this school system. The excessive use of surveillance, scare tactics, and suppression to infringe upon our rights and liberties is disgraceful and something we can not allow.
This is not the first time LA youth have suffered as a result of school shootings in other parts of the nation. According to Manuel Criollo from The Community Rights Campaign, “The police-centered response to Columbine turned neighborhood school playgrounds into minefields of penal code violations and juvenile rap sheets and were key to creating the hostile, pre-prison school environments that push students out of school en masse and track them toward jails (what many call the "drop out crisis”). Just days before the Newtown shootings, the U.S. Senate held a hearing about the school-to-jail track where many advocates pointed to Columbine as a watershed.” While the incredible need for safety in our schools is of the utmost importance, we can not afford to be swindled into believing a decrease in our rights, freedoms, and liberties is the price we must pay for sound education.
Unfortunately, if we as parents, teachers, activists, administrators, law makers, etc. allow knee jerk reactions to dictate policy, let fear override sound judgement, and permit political bullies to sabotage our young people’s futures we will face a downhill battle that could forever impact the lives of those we love. The youth within The Los Angeles Unified School District, with an emphasis on Black and Latino students, receive the most detrimental impact from the overzealous school yard policing policies and strategies. Manuel Criollo from The Community Rights Campaign says “The legacy of Columbine in Los Angeles has included 38,000 police citations in the past 4 years, with 93% going to students of color.” Ultimately, the call to action to protect our children lies with all of us. Not allowing our children to fall victim to the pitfalls of targeted acts of suppression is a necessity and working to ensure our schools are a place of advancement as opposed to another tool for capture is of extreme importance. It is crucial for us to stand together as we advocate for civil and just treatment of our youth. We can not allow horrific acts of violence to be excuses for intolerable acts of oppression.
For Further details on “Less police in schools Newtown should not be another Columbine for LA's school-to-jail track” Read Manuel Criollo’s article in La Opinion: http://www.thestrategycenter.org/blog/2013/01/22/crc-oped-less-police-schools-after-newtown-published-la-opinion
*The Community Rights Campaign, a project of the Labor Community Strategy Center, is a civil rights/human rights organization whose work begins with the stopping and reversing the mass incarceration of people in the United States, in particular the most impacted communities, people of African descent, people from the countries in Central and South America and Indigenous peoples in the Americas.
The Community Rights Campaign is organizing in L.A. high schools and among L.A.'s 500,000 low-income bus riders to build campaigns to push back the growing police/prison state and push forward an expanded social welfare state; push back the police/prisons/punishment approach to organizing society and push forward a resources/reparations/redistribution approach.