Last night the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to end the district’s contract with the Denver Police Department. We applaud this important first step toward ending the school to prison pipeline.
Thanks to the leadership of Directors Tay Anderson and Jennifer Bacon for listening to the students impacted by the police presence in what is supposed to be their safe place and taking action. As we said, this is a first step. Much more is needed right now to ensure an excellent education for our Black students. We need to follow through on the promise of the Black Excellence resolution and as a district define what the next steps are. We support the calls for replacing the officers in schools with school counselors and other critical roles to support our students.
Stand’s Chief Executive Officer Jonah Edelman said earlier this week: “School policing is inextricably linked to our country’s longstanding pattern of oppressing and criminalizing African Americans. Evidence is overwhelming that the presence of police or School Resource Officers (SROs) results in Black students being disproportionately arrested, which can have devastating consequences on educational and life outcomes. Police and SROs also consistently treat Black students more harshly than white students even though there’s no evidence to support that Black students exhibit higher rates of misbehavior. Police presence at schools often results in conflicts escalating rather than being diffused. For Black students, the presence of police on campus can create anxiety and fuel a negative self-concept that impedes learning and healthy development. At the same time, there is simply no rigorous, causal evidence that police or School Resource Officers make schools safer.” Read his full blog post here and Stand’s position on Police Free Schools is here.
This is the beginning of important work. We’d love to hear what you think.