CVMB Press Release: Counselors Not Cops

CVMB Press Release: Counselors Not Cops

October 19, 2018

Press Statement For Immediate release through October 27, 2018
Subject: Central Valley Movement Building “Counselors-Not-Cops”
Contacts: (209) 286-7564/ email: cvmbconnector@gmail.com

“Counselors Not Cops: Dignity in Schools Campaign, CA – Week of Action”

Central Valley, CA.… As part of the National Week of Action Against School Pushout, the Central Valley Movement Building (CVMB) coalition, and community-based organizations from other parts of California, are holding a series of events and are sending out press releases focused on the theme and demand, “Counselors-Not-Cops: Rethinking School Safety.”

One of the reasons for the Week of Action, is that the Central Valley has the highest rates of in-and-out of school suspensions of all the regions and counties in California, that disproportionately impacts the poor, students with disabilities, LGBTQ youth and youth of color. (1)

The highest suspending districts in the Central Valley during school year 16-17 are Merced County Office of Education with a rate of 25 suspensions per 100 students and the Mojave Unified School District with a rate of 22 suspensions per 100 students. Suspensions are even occurring at the elementary level. Fairfax Elementary School District issued 81 suspensions for every 100 foster care students enrolled.  The Central Valley region has the highest suspension rates for Black students of all regions across state: 27 suspensions per 100 black students enrolled. The region has the highest suspension rates for a number of other student groups including foster youth (33 suspensions per 100 foster student) and students with disabilities, (21 suspensions per 100 students with disabilities enrolled). (2)

Suspensions and expulsions cut off students from the positive interactions of schools, also setting students up for a variety of negative life outcomes. School Resource Officers (SRO’s) interfere with the overall opportunity for students to learn, in some cases creating the very sense of fear and violence that they are supposed to prevent. Causing students to miss school or otherwise become disengaged from school sets off a chain reaction of missed opportunity that leads to a “school-to-prison pipeline” that ends in future justice involvement3.

In the Central Valley, Elk Grove Unified, Stockton Unified and Clovis Unified respectively had 873, 307, 203 referrals to law enforcement in 2015/16. The school related arrests during the same time period were lower, but still significant in other Central Valley districts, including Fresno Unified, 159, Sacramento City Unified, 158, Clovis Unified, 114 and Tulare City 56.

In 2015/16 the Central Valley had1,079,038.00 students enrolled plus 607 full time police officers and 737 full time security officers. There are more police officers and security guards in Central Valley schools (combined = 1,345) than counselors (1,315) (4).

Districts are prioritizing school police funding over student needs. For example, Clovis Unified pays for the salaries and supplies of its police department, including firearms and ammunition, with money earmarked for the needs of low-income, foster youth, and English learner students. The Clovis district LCAP includes approximately $1.5 million to fund school resource officers, with just over $741,000 of the allotted sum going to the salaries of 16 Clovis Unified Police Department officers, according to the District’s budget. District spokeswoman Kelly Avants said, on average the district spends around $3,600 on firearms and $2,281 on ammunition every year (5).

The Central Valley is an isolated and under-resourced region; however, CVMB will intentionally and collaboratively work with communities to address broad systemic and transformative changes by increasing awareness and engagement in school discipline reform and redefining school safety.

CVMB seeks to redefine school safety by asking all Central Valley school districts to do the following:

  • Adopt and implement policies designed to create a safe school culture (consisting of student/parent-led restorative justice circles resolutions.)
  • Adopt and implement alternatives to exclusionary discipline practices —including implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) programs, restorative practices, parent/community oversight, culturally responsive learning and positive school/community relationship.
  • Limit the use of School Resource Officers and other law enforcement interventions to criminal and emergency situations and provide clear policy guidelines upon which the presence of law enforcement personnel is allowed and interacts on campus.
  • Eliminate Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funding for School Resource Officers and law enforcement, and instead provide adequate LCFF funding for counselors, social workers and intervention workers.

Central Valley Movement Building is a member of Dignity in Schools Campaign California (DSC CA) whose goal is to end the School-to-Prison pipeline and to radically embrace and fight for truly safe, holistic, and healing schools for all.

As local, state, and federal officials call to further police and militarize our schools, Central Valley Movement Building and Dignity in School Campaign California reject these false solutions and demand a new vision of transformational schooling emphasizes supporting students instead of suspending them and locking them up.

For more information about the Central Valley Movement Building please go to our website: www.cvmb.org or email us at : cvmbconnector@gmail.com. Also, for more information about the Dignity in School Campaign, California go to the website: https://dignityinschools-ca.org/

 

FOOTNOTES

  1. Central Valley includes all districts in the following counties: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare
  2. California Department of Education, DataQuest, 16/17
  3. Education under Arrest: The Case Against Police in Schools, Justice Policy Institute, November
  4. Department of Education and Office for Civil Rights, www.ed.gov/ocr
  5. https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/education/article217308340.html

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