This story was originally published by Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization covering public education. Sign up for their newsletters here: ckbe.at/newsletters
As Denver school board members make their case for removing police from schools, elected officials and advocates are pointing to strong data that shows Denver’s Black students are disproportionately funneled into the criminal justice system through tickets and arrests at school.
Removing police would lessen the likelihood that students of color end up with a criminal record, supporters say. Equally important, they say, is ensuring students of color feel safe at school given the long history of police brutality against Black men and women.
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“What we are trying to address is to help our students not have to continue to internalize that they need to be closely monitored by law enforcement,” said school board Vice President Jennifer Bacon — and “that in an instant, their life may not matter.”
Bacon and fellow board member Tay Anderson announced Friday their plans to propose a resolution that would end Denver Public Schools’ contract with the Denver Police Department to provide school resource officers to work on 18 middle and high school campuses.
The full school board is set to vote Thursday, a quick turnaround that highlights the pressure to address this issue. Denver is verging on a third week of protests sparked by the police killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd, an unarmed black man. The call to remove police from schools is gaining traction nationwide. Locally, other Colorado districts are considering it, too.
“What we saw over the last couple of weeks was our community being very loud and clear and saying, ‘This is the time in which we need to talk about this,’” Bacon said.