LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The union that represents teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District Thursday voted in favor of eliminating the school district’s police department.
United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), which represents about 30,000 teachers, passed a motion to eliminate the L.A. School Police Department and redirect the money to fund mental health and counseling services.
The motion passed by a 154-56 margin in the UTLA House of Representatives.
“Tonight’s vote means that UTLA officially supports police-free schools,” the union said in a statement. “Any changes to the current school police policy happens with a vote by the LAUSD School Board. In passing this motion, UTLA is saying that we must break the cycle that has allowed increased police presence in schools of color, especially significantly Black schools, while academic and social-emotional supports are cut.”
Back on June 2, the UTLA Board of Directors passed the same motion by an overwhelming 35-2 vote.
Earlier this week, the LAUSD Board of Education rejected a proposal to slash the LASPD’s funding 90% by 2024.
LASPD is the largest independent law enforcement agency for a school district in the nation. It has 410 sworn police officers and 101 non-sworn safety officers.
The nationwide conversation surrounding police funding and policy has been front and center nationwide in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing protests. Last week, the L.A. City Council began debating a motion to create a “nonviolent crisis response team” who would be used instead of police to respond to certain nonviolent and noncriminal calls.
Prior to the protests, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti had approved giving LAPD officers $41 million in bonuses and increasing the department’s budget by more than 7% in the 2020-21 fiscal year despite the fact that that the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic fallout forced the city of L.A. in April to furlough about 15,000 civilian employees due to revenue shortfalls.