OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — The Oakland Unified School District board voted to not reduce the school district police department Wednesday evening despite a heated meeting and push back from the community.
The board had tough cuts to consider Wednesday as it looked to pass next school year’s budget.
The community made a plea to stop taking money out of the classroom. Many fed up parents and teachers spoke up at the meeting. They say they know how to cut more than $2 million right away: by getting rid of the Oakland Schools Police Department.
Members of the Black Organizing Project also known as BOP held a rally outside before the meeting. BOP wants police-free schools, saying the officers target minority students.
“Our kids do not need to be policed. You should look at students as vibrant intelligent human beings who have something to offer,” Jessica Black with the Black Organizing Project.
According to the Oakland Unified School District, 26% of the students are African Americans but they make up 73% of those arrested by OUSD police.
“Our students at schools not needing policing has brought together all races and that’s phenomenal and that’s radical change we need in Oakland,” said Roseann Torres, a school board member.
While BOP aims to dismantle the entire police department, it has support from some members on the board, with Director Torres proposing cutting sworn officer positions.
Some of the board members did point out that the officers with Oakland schools know the specific needs of the schools and can respond quicker than the Oakland Police Department.