Today, the Antelope Valley Union High School District Board voted 3-1 in favor of renewing a $1.8 million contract between Antelope Valley high schools and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to keep sheriff deputies in schools. This comes following months of research, multiple meetings with School Board members, public comments, and actions by the #CanceltheContractAV coalition calling for their cities and schools to cancel the contracts with the LA Sheriff’s Department, and replace them with meaningful services for their students and community.
Other school districts in Southern California like Lynwood and Eastside School District have recently voted not to renew their Sheriff SRO contracts for the 2021-22 school year, illuminating a path forward that provides safety for their schools without the presence of armed sheriff deputies. This mirrors similar school board votes to remove law enforcement from campuses that we have seen across the state, and the country, in Oakland, Denver, and many other jurisdictions.
The facts speak for themselves when it comes to the impact of law enforcement on students of color. Black students make up 16.7% of the student population in AVUHSD, yet they received over half of all law enforcement contacts reported under the Racial Identity and Profiling Act. Black and Latinx students were searched by law enforcement in schools more than students in every other racial or ethnic group combined (RIPA). Black students represent 27% of the population of students with disabilities, yet they received 44% of referrals to law enforcement, while white students, at 54% of the disabled population, received only 41% of referrals (Civil Rights Data Collection).
The coalition does not only know the facts about the problems of having law enforcement in schools, but the ways Antelope Valley schools can develop programs of care for all students. The coalition is ready to work alongside the Board and anyone else to co-create a school environment worthy of our students, parents, teachers, and community. The #CanceltheContractAV coalition will continue to fight to remove LA sheriffs from our schools.
“We are deeply disappointed in the Board’s decision today, but we are not defeated nor deterred,” said Christian Green, Campaign Coordinator of the Cancel the Contract Coalition. “Over the past several months, our coalition educated our community about the consequences of law enforcement in schools and offered alternatives, set a record amount of public comments at School Board meetings, and built, and continue to build, a coalition that is united around ending law enforcement violence in the Antelope Valley and creating a new vision of public safety. We’ll continue to educate, organize, empower and actively create a community all of us deserve.”
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