LA School Board Member Opposes District's Push to Boot Police From Schools

Board's only black member said removing officers could be deadly

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September 18, 2020

A Los Angeles Unified School District board member spoke out against the district's plan to remove police officers from schools at a meeting this week, saying the move could be deadly. 

"I'll invite you to the first funeral that we have of a child [because] we don't have anyone protecting them on that campus," George McKenna, the board's only black member, said on Tuesday. 

LAUSD voted in June to cut $25 million from the school police budget, prompting former school police chief Todd Chamberlain and 20 other officers to resign. The vote also prohibits the school district from hiring local police or outside security to patrol campuses. The Reimagining School Safety Task Force presented a plan to replace police officers with social workers and aids during the school week and to end weekend patrols meant to discourage vandalism on school campuses. 

McKenna said school officers are being unfairly blamed for police brutality and that social workers would be unable to properly protect students. 

"The school police were never a danger to the students," he said. "Are you under the assumption that there are no Crips, no Bloods, no gangs out there, and we're going to do this with social workers?" 

Other California school districts, in cities like Oakland, San Francisco, and Sacramento, have already voted to eliminate their own police programs or remove local police from schools. The push to reform and defund police departments began this summer after a wave of anti-police protests erupted in many cities across the country.

Published under: Police