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Community Advocates To Replace Police On LAUSD Campuses

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FILE PHOTO: LAUSD school police outside Mark Twain Middle School in Los Angeles. (Brian Watt / KPCC)
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The Los Angeles Unified School Board voted unanimously yesterday to remove police from school campuses. Those officers will be replaced with staff trained to de-escalate disputes. It's a major overhaul of the school's police department.

The board agreed to cut the school police department's annual budget by $25 million last summer, after the widespread protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd.

But the Board hadn't decided how to reinvest the money until now. The $25 million dwill go toward a 36.5 million dollar Black student achievement plan also approved by the district Tuesday.

It includes funding for counselors, psychiatric social workers, curriculum changes and community partnerships.

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Isaac Bryan is executive director of the UCLA Black Policy Project and a member of the LAUSD task force that was convened to think about how to reinvest the money cut from the school police budget.

"LAUSD has taken a step forward, an incredible important step forward driven by community organizing," he told LAist/KPCC. "But the fact that there's still such a robust school police presence, even on the outside of campus, I think leaves room for us to continue to think about how we could reinvest additional dollars down the road."

Kahlila Williams, a senior at the Girls Academic Leadership Academy and member of student advocacy group Students Deserve Justice, was one of the callers during the public comment period of the Board meeting. She said:

"This $25 million reallocation is just the first step towards repair repairing the psychological, emotional, academic and physical harm caused by the system of school policing."

LAUSD police will still be on-call nearby to respond to emergencies, but they won't be stationed on campus. The Board also voted yesterday to ban the use of pepper spray on students.

The board's plan also cuts 133 positions from the school police department.

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In a statement, the School Police Department expressed concerns about "unintended consequences" of the policy changes.

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