California schools head: Officers needed in some schools

The head of California schools says his office is working to re-imagine the role of police officers at the state's 10,000 public schools.

Posted: Jun 24, 2020 12:44 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The head of California schools said Wednesday his office is working to re-imagine the role of police officers at the state’s 10,000 public schools but that some schools would still need officers on campus to protect students’ safety.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said the officers would be needed to protect students from dangers, including school shootings or bomb threats but officers would no longer be called upon to discipline misbehaving students.

“As a former school board member, I spent four years working very closely with school resource officers,” Thurmond said. “But I’ve already seen data that shows when there’s police on campus, this results in more suspensions and arrests, particularly for African American students and other students of color.”

Thurmond said schools that still need a police presence would get officers who choose to be there and who have been trained on implicit bias. He said officers won’t be assigned to campuses.

He said his office has convened a task force that includes legislators, researchers, law enforcement officials and advocacy groups that will look at how to address security issues at public schools.

Thurmond’s announcement came a day after the San Francisco Board of Education voted to cut ties with city police as protests against police brutality continue across the country.

Board commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to end an agreement with the San Francisco Police Department involving 12 armed police officers assigned to respond to calls at schools.

The arrangement also included a district payment of $46,000 to help cover the cost of a police liaison, who oversaw a program that provided specialized training to the 12 officers.

Schools throughout the nation are grappling with how to address demands to get police officers out of schools amid protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee to his neck for nearly eight minutes.

The Oakland Unified School District Board was expected to vote Wednesday on whether to eliminate its police department, which has a budget of $6 million a year and a force of 10 sworn officer and 50 unarmed campus security guards. It is one of 19 school districts in California with its own police department.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest in the nation, rejected a proposal to defund campus police.

The board of United Teachers Los Angeles, the powerful teachers union, recently voted to call for defunding the school police department and using $63 million of its $70 million budget for counseling and other student services.

However, some board members said they wouldn’t want to defund police unless there was another plan for guaranteeing the safety of the district’s 735,000 students.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 526685

Reported Deaths: 9684
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1958054760
Riverside38487738
Orange38066653
San Bernardino34017477
San Diego30516568
Kern21228151
Fresno15759138
San Joaquin11958180
Alameda11909192
Santa Clara11030192
Sacramento10174148
Tulare9990193
Imperial9513232
Stanislaus9308135
Contra Costa8176131
Ventura787777
San Francisco698961
Santa Barbara652663
San Mateo5744120
Marin518076
Monterey496634
Merced458351
Kings445356
Solano380638
Sonoma311339
Madera211432
Placer195318
San Luis Obispo192616
Yolo161442
Santa Cruz11964
Butte10128
Napa9809
Sutter8406
San Benito6894
El Dorado6681
Lassen6320
Yuba5334
Shasta3979
Colusa3574
Mendocino3419
Glenn3321
Nevada3161
Tehama2461
Humboldt2454
Lake2111
Mono1451
Tuolumne1442
Amador1370
Calaveras1361
Del Norte900
Siskiyou880
Inyo641
Mariposa592
Plumas330
Trinity50
Modoc40
Sierra30
Alpine20
Unassigned00
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It was a slightly cooler day for northern California today, but a more significant cooling is arriving tomorrow, along with a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms over the mountains of northwest California.
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