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Morning Brief: LA School Officials To Discuss Campus Police, And Supporting Black Students

Los Angeles School Police officers watch students lining up to pass through a security check point at Thomas Jefferson High School on April 21, 2005 (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 16.

As the Los Angeles Unified School District considers reopening, education officials are also attempting to implement reforms they agreed upon months ago: Reducing the presence of police officers on school campuses, and providing better support to Black students.

Today, the LAUSD board will hold a special meeting, during which they’ll work to hammer out the details of cutting the school police budget by $25 million. The amount reflects 35% of the school police’s overall operating costs.

My colleague Caroline Champlin reports that the meeting has been a long time coming. The board voted in favor of the budget cut in June, but delayed implementing any proposed changes after pushback from activist groups on both sides of the issue.

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At the time of the June vote, advocates who wanted to see police officers removed from campuses secured the support of the local teachers’ union, United Teachers Los Angeles.

Research has shown that Black students can feel targeted by on-campus police, and that officers’ presence detracts from learning. Those in favor of on-campus police, however, argue that they’re trained in de-escalation, and help keep schools safe.

Some who’ve advocated for the reduction in on-campus police want to see the money redirected into programs specifically targeted to Black students. At today’s meeting, the board will also consider a program aimed at doing just that.

The program, called the Black Student Achievement Plan, was previewed by LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner in his weekly Monday address. Calling it “a series of unprecedented actions to help Black students," Beutner added that the U.S. has been “systematically failing Black children as a country,” and that schools must be part of the solution.

Beutner said he hopes to have the plan completed in March and incorporated into the school budget for the 2021-2022 school year.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • California is partnering with the federal government to open a new vaccine site at Cal State L.A. today.
  • And the Los Angeles Unified School District’s first school-based vaccination center will open this Wednesday to serve school employees.
  • As part of our Black in L.A. series, a biracial woman who has lived in neighborhoods across L.A. shares her struggle to find a space where she's felt truly at ease.
  • The city of L.A. will temporarily prioritize second doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
  • A coalition of community activists called for the firing of any LAPD employee who created or shared a Valentine’s Day-themed photo of George Floyd that reportedly included a caption reading, “You Take My Breath Away.”
  • In California, those who have received the coronavirus vaccine are more likely to be white than any other race or ethnicity.
  • As part of our Racism 101 series, our panelists answered, "What are the racial slights and microaggressions you've seen or experienced in the workplace you wish your coworkers would just stop doing?”

Before You Go… Here’s What To Do This Week

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Japan House LA presents a new exhibition of woodblock prints by some of Japan's great artists including Katsushika Hokusai. (Courtesy of Japan House LA)

It’s the week after Valentine’s Day, and we’re still socializing from our couch. In the next few days, you have an array of options for how to enjoy your spare time, if indeed you have any:

Learn how plagues shaped the history of perfume. Consider the greatness of Miles Davis. Reconsider the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. Gaze at Japanese woodblock prints. Sit in on a conversation between Sacha Baron Cohen and Eric Idle. Celebrate Mardi Gras with jambalaya, po'boys and other Creole eats. And more.

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter,Facebook and Instagram.

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