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LA Teachers' Union Endorses Calls To Defund School Police

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UTLA members rallied at City Hall on June 7, 2020 in support of calls to defund the L.A. School Police. (Kyle Stokes/LAist)
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United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing L.A. Unified teachers and counselors, has voted in favor of efforts to defund the district's school police force.

The UTLA motion –- which was passed 154-56 by the union's House of Representatives –- calls for getting rid of the school police’s $70 million budget, and instead diverting those funds to community schools with more Black students. It also called for hiring more social workers and counselors, who are among the employees the union represents.

Earlier this month, the union's leadership joined calls to defund the Los Angeles School Police Department.

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There has been some disagreement, though, among the member’s 35,000 members. Right before Thursday evening’s vote of UTLA's House of Representatives, the union received a petition with hundreds of signatures calling instead for a vote among the entire membership.

At a meeting of the district's Board of Education that lasted 11 hours-plus on Tuesday, some self-identified district employees spoke against defunding the school police.

One of the proposals on the table during that meeting was by board member Mónica García. If passed, it would have drastically reduced the department's funding -– first by 50%, and eventually, 90%.

Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, which represents school principals and administrators, has joined other unions representing other LAUSD employees to express support of the LASPD.

SEIU 99, which represents a range of district employees including custodians, cafeteria workers, assistants and bus drivers, expressed support for García's proposal to greatly reduce school police funding, which ultimately did not pass.

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