Fifth question with my answer from the OEA school board candidate questionnaire:
Do you support the Black Organizing Project’s demand for Police Free Schools?
Yes, students need to feel safe in our schools. It was heart-wrenching for me to see Student Director Mica Smith-Dahl’s face when the School Board refused to cut police officers at their March 4 meeting. She, like so many students of color, feels unsafe when she sees an officer with a gun on her campus, because of our country’s terrible history of police violence against people of color. I knew Mica when she was an elementary student at Manzanita SEED so it felt personal to me.
Youth crime has plummeted in the Bay Area, and many school staff now have restorative justice expertise which does so much to address the root causes of youth crime on campus. We also have a supportive city council (three of whom have come out in favor of the BOP demand) and a strong police commission, who I would work with to create strong policies on how and when OPD officers would be sent on campus, and what discipline they would face if they violated those policies. This is a huge opportunity for the district. The fact that the Board is maintaining a $1.4 million police force at this time when they are making so many other cuts is unconscionable.