LA Teachers' Union Calls for Defunding of Police in Order to Reopen Schools

Union also calls for charter school closures, Medicare for All

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July 14, 2020

The Los Angeles teachers' union released a list of requirements for reopening schools this fall, which includes defunding the police.

"Police violence is a leading cause of death and trauma for Black people, and is a serious public health and moral issue," a recent union research paper said. "We must shift the astronomical amount of money devoted to policing, to education and other essential needs such as housing and public health."

The demand comes as a wave of anti-police protesters—backed by progressive Democrats—have called to divert police funding to educational programs, public housing, and universal basic income. Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) backed legislation last week that would dismantle the DEA and ICE and divert federal funding for police to universal basic income initiatives and reparations for prostitutes, among other programs.

Along with defunding the police, the teachers' union also called for other progressive policy goals, including Medicare for All and the closure of charter schools.

President Donald Trump's recent push to reopen schools this fall has caused outrage among many on the left, who fear that sending children back to school could be catastrophic for public health. United Teachers Los Angeles president Cecily Myart-Cruz called the push "anti-science."

"It's time to take a stand against Trump's dangerous, anti-science agenda that puts the lives of our members, our students, and our families at risk," she said.

The Los Angeles Unified School District—which serves more than 600,000 students— announced Monday that all education will be conducted remotely this fall and school buildings will remain closed, as California has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the country.