OAKLAND (KPIX) – Recent protests over police killings have renewed calls to disband Oakland Unified School District’s police department. On Wednesday, the school community met to talk about where to spend the money instead.
Outside the room where school board meetings are typically held, a group of parents, teachers, students and even school board members gathered to discuss how to reallocate the $2.3 million in the budget reserved for the OUSD police force, and spend it elsewhere.
Board member Roseann Torres co-sponsored the resolution.
“We as adults who are managing the school budget need to get behind these students and we’ve got to fund education and not police,” said Torres. “We gotta to fund mental health counselors, not police,” Torres said during the press conference and rally.
The resolution was drafted more than nine years ago by the Black Organizing Project, or BOP. It was brought to the school board in March, and rejected. Now it is back again.
“I believe what’s happening in this country, what’s happening around this nation and around this world was the moment to say we are back. We are here today and we are standing – we are standing today to present and on the 24th, to vote,” said Jacqueline Byers of BOP.
The goal is to eliminate the district’s police department by December 31, while still having a safety plan in place.
“Security cameras, lock the doors – people will respond if you call OPD 911 – that’s the reality of what we have to do next. I’m not saying our kids don’t matter if there is an emergency — it’s opposite — so that’s the pushback right now,” said Torres.
Students who say officers regularly harass them on campus are onboard.
“The school district is spending too much money on police for our schools,” said Charles of Castlemont High. “Our schools are being closed and students don’t have what they need. Instead they could be using the money for things students actually need like school supplies and field trips to make our learning experiences more interesting.”
The Board is expected to vote on the resolution this summer.