An Advocacy Letter from the Mills Staff Union to Eliminate Police from OUSD Schools
Dear Superintendent Johnson-Trammell and Oakland School Board Directors,
We, the Mills College Staff Union, write to you in solidarity with Black Organizing Project’s (BOP) coalition of students, teachers, parents, and community members urging the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) to eliminate OUSD police from our public schools.
We respectfully request that your Board pass the George Floyd Resolution, which will remove law enforcement from our K-12 public schools and begin the work of healing the historic trauma of over-policing and brutality faced by our Oakland youth, and Black and Brown Oakland youth in particular.
Our city has a long record of disproportionately suspending, expelling, involuntarily transferring, and arresting Black students. While Black students make up 26% of OUSD students, they represent 73% of all students who are arrested. By having police in the enclosed space of public school buildings, the district is exposing Black students and students of color to early police contact and higher chances of being criminalized. Early encounters with the criminal justice system can foreclose students’ opportunities toward graduation, college, federal tuition aid, and employment, which fundamentally undermines the economic and public health of our students and their communities.
Our community at Mills is dedicated to empowering students in Oakland. Disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline is an urgent imperative that aligns with other longstanding initiatives of the College’s, including our Upward Bound and Mills Promise programs, which foster a school-to-college pathway for students in our local school districts.
Moreover, we believe that education has the potential to transform individuals and their communities for the better. Further still, we believe that educational paradigms rooted in an ethic of care will best prepare our young people to flourish as students and as community members. We would like to see this ethic of care reflected in OUSD’s budget, by using available funds to bolster programs and resources that will enhance the well being of our young people.
While OUSD considers difficult budget cuts, we encourage OUSD leaders to act with moral courage and fiscal responsibility to remove law enforcement agents from campuses, which costs the district $2.3M annually. BOP has a detailed implementation plan for ensuring safety, which will emphasize peace-keeping, culture-keeping, and restorative justice.
Therefore we the Mills College Staff Union, call on you as the Superintendent and School Board Directors to promote safety for our communities and success for our Oakland youth by passing the George Floyd Resolution and removing the OUSD police department from our Oakland public schools.
Mills Staff Union