LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Hundreds of people marched in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday in favor of defunding the Los Angeles Unified school police.
The Black Lives Matter protest began at the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex on Lucas Avenue and marched to Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters . Protesters are holding signs that say “defund the police” and “policing ≠ teaching.”
“I think there needs to be a balance,” said one protestor. “Schools have become these military zones rather than places of education.”
Parents, students, teachers, and other supporters all joined the protest, aimed at ending police presence in LAUSD schools.
“I think a lot of students at LAUSD schools feel targeted,” said Aniela Lopez, who is a teacher at an LAUSD school. She said she believes spotting students that may be struggling and helping them without resorting to police intervention can help solve long-term problems.
Macy Pine, an LAUSD student, agreed.
“I don’t think we need police on campus,” she said.
The police force serving the LAUSD is the largest independent law enforcement agency of its kind in the nation.
Last week, the teacher’s union asked the LAUSD to reallocate all funding from the LAUSD police to mental health services and counselors. In his Monday briefing, Superintendent Austin Beutner said the LAUSD police’s funding will be included in a larger budget review in light of the state funding obstacles caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We cannot ignore legitimate concerns and criticism that students and other members in the school community have about all forms of law enforcement,” Beutner said. “The culture and climate of schools must be founded on inclusion and respect. No person should feel the presence of a safety officer on a campus as an indictment of them or their character.”
The Los Angeles School Police Officers Association issued a statement Monday night saying it wants to work with the district to “ensure our schools are a safe place where the educational process may thrive.”
The march remained peaceful, and there were no reports of arrests.