By Selena Lu
The Black Organization Project (BOP) held a rally on Nov. 16 from 4:30 to 5:30 pm where they unveiled their four-point plan to rid OUSD schools of police.
The event took place in front of La Escuelita Elementary School where a school board meeting was to be held inside from 4:00 to 8:00 pm on the same day. Many people attended the meeting after the rally to talk to the school board about the school police. The rally itself consisted of a series of speeches, the unveiling of their plan, and then more speeches.
“I’ve been an advocate against the Oakland Police Force since the murder of Raheim Brown,” said LSJ Social Studies teacher Emily Macy. “I think it’s outrageous that we’re the only school district in Alameda County that has its own police force.”
Raheim Brown, Jr. was a 20 year old African-American male who was killed outside of Skyline High School on Jan. 22, 2011, by the Oakland School Police. He was smoking marijuana in a stolen car with a friend. Two officers saw him and began to question him. One officer, Barhin Bhatt, alleged that when his partner, Jonathan Bellusa, entered the car, Brown tried to attack Bellusa with a screwdriver and so Bhatt shot him five times and killed him.
The four steps of the BOP’s plan to eliminate police from schools, the People’s Plan, is to first, “divest from school policing by eliminating the Oakland School Police Department by 2020 and barring any future contracts with law enforcement.” The plan calls on community members to work with OUSD to remove the OSPD and keep the OUSD from replacing them with any other law enforcement.
The second step is to “reorganize the Campus Safety and Security Program under the Department of Equity or Behavioral Health and restructure the role of security personnel to become mentors and peace/culture keepers.” Organizers say this will happen by restructuring the role of security personnel, revising the hiring process, changing job titles, and implementing new training.
The third step is to ”reinvest $2.3m+ OSPD budget into hiring additional school mental & behavioral health and special education staff” by having OUSD consult community members and come up with a proposal.
The last step is to ”establish a Community Oversight Committee to review and redress all student and family complaints regarding interactions with law enforcement or school security personnel.” The plan calls on OUSD to consult BOP and other community members in the formation of this committee.
The People’s Plan also states that no school district is required to station police at schools. Studies referenced in the plan found that school police causes no reduction of school crime, no increase in school safety, increases anxiety in young men of color, and that their presence triples the odds of the school having a high number of arrests and widens the racial disparity in arrest.
“I’m privileged in the fact that the police here don’t do anything,” said Metwest High School senior Stephanie Gutierrez. “It’s important for me to show solidarity with [students from schools experiencing problems with police] even though it hasn’t directly impacted me.”