Three Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board member motions to change school policing did not pass during a nearly 12-hour meeting Tuesday.
Board members Monica Garcia and Jackie Goldberg wanted to significantly reduce the roles of the L.A. School Police Department, while board member George McKenna presented a motion “reaffirming our commitment to school safety for our students.”
Each motion failed with 4 votes against them, as the seven members had various issues with each motion presented through the marathon session.
Garcia’s motion called for “Reimagining School Safety and Investing in our Highest Need Students”; it asked the Superintendent Austin Beutner to reduce the L.A. School Police Department’s budget by 50 percent in the 2021-22 fiscal year, 75 percent the next year and 90 percent by 2024.
Garcia’s motion gained public support, as the United Teachers L.A. organization put out a statement saying, “Our students need more social workers, counselors, trusted campus aides and community schools, not police.”
Meanwhile, demonstrators led by Black Lives Matter Los Angeles stood outside the LAUSD headquarters in downtown L.A. in support of Garcia’s school safety plan, where they continued their cries to “defund the police.”
Resolution Supporting School Police Also Blocked
McKenna was adamant about keeping the school police department intact and believed that the LASPD was being “unfairly demonized by an organizational effort.”
“I’m hoping that my resolution clarifies to people the difference between school police and municipal police,” McKenna said while explaining his motion. “I think it’s unfair. I think they’ve served us faithfully and often… are asked to do more than anyone else will do.”
LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner attended the board meeting and said:
“We cannot ignore legitimate concerns and criticisms that students and other members in the members of the school community have about all forms of law enforcement, including school police. No person should feel the presence of a safety officer on campus as an indictment of them or their character. School police are not part of the Los Angeles Police Department… they’re trained differently and their role is different. ”
The meeting was held through Zoom and more than 100 people called in to voice their opinions on the school safety issues.
With the meeting running so long, the board never got a chance to address the budget. It voted to address the matter at the next meeting, Tuesday, June 30.
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