LAUSD Law Enforcement

LAUSD’s $25 Million Cut to School Police Will Fund Black Student Achievement Plan

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

In June 2020, the Los Angeles Unified School District board voted to cut $25 million from the $70 million school police budget in response to calls from dozens of community groups to divest from law enforcement and the ways in which kids are pushed out of school and into the criminal legal system. Now, the school board has decided what to do with that $25 million: redirect it into a Black Student Achievement Plan.

In a vote on Tuesday, February 16, the board got clearer about what defunding school police and reinvesting in kids at its 900 schools will look like.

The LA School Police Department (LASPD) will lose 133 positions — 70 gun-carrying sworn officers, 62 non-sworn “school safety officers,” and one support staff member — around one-third of the department’s total force. Along with the personnel cuts, will come boosts in support for students and a ban on officers using pepper spray on students — demands brought by a coalition of Black students and community groups, including LA Students Deserve, Black Lives Matter-LA and Brothers, Sons, Selves.

The board voted to adopt its plan after a 7-month review of the LAUSD’s school safety and climate that included conversations with local organizations and analyses of models implemented in other large school districts, including in Austin, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York City, Oakland, and Seattle.

The Black Student Achievement Plan

Using $36.5 million per year — $25 million of which will come from the school police budget cuts — the school district will partner with community groups to boost supports and services in 53 schools selected based on indicators that include the number of kids suspended or referred to probation, average Math and English proficiency scores, chronic absenteeism rates, and school experience survey responses.

The Black Student Achievement Plan will focus on making sure that school instruction and materials are culturally responsive to Black students, on closing gaps in literacy and math skills, and on reducing racial disparities in school discipline, in part, by focusing on meeting kids’ “academic and social-emotional needs.”

School “Discipline”

According to a 2018 report called “Get Out: Black Male Suspensions in California Public Schools,” from UCLA’s Million Dollar Hoods Project and San Diego State University professors, the reality of the LASPD is not quite so conducive to a healthy learning environment for all students.

Between 2014 and 2017, the LASPD made 3,389 arrests of students, issued 2,724 citations, and participated in 1,282 diversions. Kids in middle and elementary school accounted for one in four of the total LASPD arrests.

And, despite the fact that Black students represent less than nine percent of the district’s student population, Black kids made up 24 percent of the total arrests, citations, and diversions, the Million Dollar Hoods team found.

While there has been a movement in California and across the nation to reduce suspensions, expulsions, and school arrests for normal kid behavior and low-level infractions, there is still much work to be done to address the harm done, especially to Black children and other students of color, researchers, experts, and community groups say.

“Coaches” to Help Resolve Conflicts, Reduce Disparities in Discipline, and Improve Student Engagement 

The responses to an LAUSD school climate survey were mixed across kids, parents, and staff about whether budgetary funds should be diverted from school police.

A majority of students, parents, and staff agreed that having school police made their campuses safer, and most opposed getting rid of school police. (These percentages were higher among parents and students who identified themselves as white, Latino, and Asian/Pacific Islander, and lower among Black parents and students.)

The day after the school board meeting, Wednesday, February 17, the LA School Police Officers Association issued a statement slamming the board’s “drastic” funding and police force cuts, saying the decision — part of the board’s “political agenda,” “WILL place our children and staff in harm’s way.” The board, the group said, disregarded the will of students, parents, and staff members that responded to the school survey. 

Yet, most respondents were also in favor of prioritizing more funding for nurses, counselors, psychiatric social workers, and other school support staff, as well as more mentoring and afterschool programs.

So, in addition to the supports for specific schools laid out in the Black Student Achievement Plan, every secondary school will have “School Climate Coaches” step in as advocates for kids on campus, and as alternatives to school police. The board estimates that this team of coaches will cost $9.9 million annually.

The coaches will use “socio-emotional learning strategies to strengthen student engagement, applying effective de-escalation strategies to support conflict resolution, building positive relationships and elevating student voice, eliminating racial disproportionality in school discipline practices, and understanding and addressing implicit bias.”


Image via LA School Police Facebook.

11 Comments

    • No, Black student achievement is the joke. It’s racist bullshit. What happened to STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT? MLK would be appalled at this racist crap.

      • School POLICE is the joke…Police in Georgia were the racist’s or did u forget about that story and that’s where MLK is from. Im apalled at ur comments, but ur a cop sooooooo

        • You’re just appalled because you’re a leftist shill. Any preference shown toward students based on their race is unfair to the rest and an insult to the ones given them. Until leftists like you can look beyond color and quit apologizing for your whiteness, there will be no equality.

  • School climate coaches….hilarious

    So taking money from one wasted resources and putting it into another wasted program. Sounds about right.

    Should ask those parents of white and Latino kids how safe they feel now. Oh, that’s right….they don’t matter.

    Greatest good for the greatest number. Doesn’t apply anymore.

  • I’m sure after Columbine, which is a distant memory for some, never heard of by many who weren’t born yet and “whatever” those with a “so-what, it doesn’t affect me attitude”, the need for school police was paramount for the safety and security of kids school campuses. Know at a time when parents don’t raise their children with any respect for themselves, their own parents themselves, elders, teachers or any form of authority, the schools will degenerate even further into places where bullying, assaults and violence are the norm. Teachers and students will have to fend for themselves. If something does happen on these school campus, I would hate to be the one waiting on the local “defunded”, understaffed police force to respond.

    School police are a joke, have seen what little “campus security” can and will do.

    Society is truly going to hell in the proverbial “hand basket” at break neck speed. Who needs war, as all supposedly great societies will all self-destruct and internally destroy themselves one way or another. History has proven that again and again and again.

  • What percentage of LA City Schools students are Latino? I’m sure they just forgot to mention that part of the plan, right ? Wait, what ? No programs for the Latino kids? Seems like this could be called discriminatory !

  • Once again, white liberal bureaucrats making decisions for ethnic minorities. And once again, placing people into groups and categories. There is no such thing as a colorblind society to these people. MLK would be disgusted. Pump in a ton of money for the betterment of one race over another? Seems I’ve heard something similar to that going on in the early 1930s in another hemisphere.

    Will someone please define what a “person of color” is? I know an Asian doesn’t fit that narrative anymore and from the looks of this obscene act of pandering, it looks like you can strike Hispanics from the list too.

  • By the numbers in California at least, Hispanics are really not a minority. With the Biden administration at the reigns they will probably be a majority in many states over the next four years. So by the numbers and in the spirit of Civil Rights, Blacks still are a minority and Asians too if they wish to be lumped in that pool.

    With regards to the term “people of color”, what does that even mean anymore? Everybody has color, whether it be White, Brown, Black, Tan or any shade or combination of them. In this country you can even check a box and be whatever you want to be depending on how the winds blows or it will benefit you.

  • How about addressing the real issues with students who refuse to go to school, refuse to do their work, refuse to follow the law, refuse to… I can keep going on. It all starts in the HOME. Throwing money, 9.5 Million Dollars into a program that only addresses black students is very subjective and alienates the rest of the student population. This “Climate Coaches” what a JOKE. This program doesn’t have a job description, or what kind of training is required. I smell discrimination and separatism-totalitarians are on the move

  • LAUSD Board Votes To Cut School Police Force, Divert Funds To Black Student Achievement Plan…..

    https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2021/02/16/lausd-school-police-cuts-black-student-achievement-plan/

    LAUSD teachers are worried about COVID 19? That may be the least of their worries. Let’s hope those “Climate Control Coaches” can save the day.

    Officers being fired, retirements and the remaining smart ones going to other departments. A de-funded LAPD is going to be busy.

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