National Racial, Educational Justice Organizations Win in Fight for #PoliceFreeSchools
Washington, DC – Setting a precedent for schools around the country, the Minneapolis Public School Board Tuesday night, voted to end its contract with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). This follows the University of Minnesota’s decision to end their contract with MPD early last week following the brutal murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on Monday, May 25.
Advancement Project National Office and Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ) applaud the school board’s decision to ensure that students attending Minneapolis Public Schools are safe from the threat of police violence. The police murdering Black and Brown people on the streets are the same police brutalizing Black and Brown students in our schools. The decision made Tuesday represents a critical first step toward building a future with #PoliceFreeSchools across the country.
Our organizations encourage school districts nationwide to follow this powerful lead, and end all contracts with local law enforcement, indefinitely. Youth organizations across the country such as Philadelphia Student Union, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council of Chicago, IL, Freedom Inc., in Madison, WI, and many others, understand how crucial it is to abolish police presence in schools, and have been urging this kind of radical movement across school boards for years.
“Research and the experiences of young people of color have taught us that police in schools create a toxic school climate and fuel the school-to-prison pipeline. #PoliceFreeSchools are essential to the well-being of our Black and Brown youth,” said Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project National Office. “As a national civil rights organization that has worked on education justice issues for over decade, we will continue to support parents, students and educators in campaigns to eliminate racial discipline disparities and dismantle institutional racism within the nation’s public schools. This move by Minneapolis Public Schools is bold, big and gets us one step closer to reimagining justice for our young people of color.”
Judith Browne Dianis, also a civil rights attorney, coined the term school-to-prison pipeline and is hailed as the Godmother of the movement to end violence in schools at the hands of cops.
“The same police that killed George Floyd, and the same police that tear gas peaceful protesters demanding justice for his murder, are the same police brutalizing students in schools,” said Jonathan Stith, National Director of the Alliance for Educational Justice. “We believe justice for Black students and students of color looks like #PoliceFreeSchools. Before we return to “normal” school post-COVID-19, we must demand an end to the pandemic of police violence in our schools. Today, Minneapolis has taken an important step in the right direction. We hope the rest of the country will follow suit.”
Advancement Project National Office has been working on education justice and school safety for young people of color for more than ten years. We recently released “We Came to Learn,” a report, action kit and microsite detailing accounts the disparate treatment of students of color by police and highlighting instances of police brutality with an interactive #AssaultAt map.
The Minneapolis Public School Board’s decision makes #PoliceFreeSchools possible for everyone, everywhere. It proves that Black students and students of color, at all intersections, will win.