Congratulations to Latinos Unidos Siempre (Latinos United Always) for succeeding in their battle to have School Resource Officers -- police -- removed from Salem-Keizer schools.
They're celebrating on their Facebook page.
We have won!! After 25 years of resisting the school to prison and deportation pipeline today we have made a huge stride into being closer to abolishing it. The School Resource Officer contract will not be renewed thanks to the work of youth leaders in Latinos Unidos Siempre and to the many community members who have supported and fought alongside us.
During the March 9th Salem-Keizer School Board Meeting, Superintendent Christy Perry announced her decision to not renew the School Resource Officer contracts between the school district and the Salem and Keizer Police Departments as well as the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, effectively removing all School Resource Officers (SROs) from schools.
Though historic, our work does not end with this win. Unfortunately, during the board hearing the superintendent and school board directors continuously emphasized that they believe there is still a role for police in schools. This is wrong.
Police traumatize, criminalize, and harm us. We will not stop our work until we have genuinely police free schools. We know that we are still far from realizing our vision for the types of schools our young people deserve. We seek the absolute abolishment of the school-to-prison-and-deportation pipelines.
In 1996, students of color came together in Salem to combat the racist profiling they were experiencing by their schools and local law enforcement. For 25 years, youth have fought through LUS. For 25 years, many have fallen victims to this system. Many of us have parents, siblings and friends who cannot get their lives back. Many of us are still being thrown into this system.
This victory is in honor of all of the youth who have fallen victim to the school to prison and deportation pipeline and in honor of today's youth who continue to resist. Our ancestors live through us!
It's inspiring to see these young people speaking truth to power with such persistence.
They've had to face a Salem-Keizer School Board with a majority of right-wing members who don't reflect the diversity of our community.
Yet in the end, police have been removed from schools, as the Latino students and others demanded. Hopefully this won't be a temporary victory, but a permanent one.
Our local police departments now have more officers available for duties that are actually desired by the people they serve, which clearly wasn't the case with the School Resource Officer program.
Eight Salem police officers who used to patrol local schools will be permanently reassigned to patrol and emergency call response, Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack said Wednesday.
The officers haven't been at local schools for nearly a year because of the shift to online classes last spring.
Now, they won't be coming back as schools reopen. Superintendent Christy Perry said Tuesday night
that the Salem-Keizer School District would not renew its contracts with local law enforcement agencies to station officers in schools.
The district previously had contracts with the Salem Police Department, Keizer Police Department and Marion County Sheriff's Office to station 11 officers in middle and high schools across the district. Eight of those officers were Salem police.
The Statesman Journal also has a story, "Salem-Keizer Superintendent Christy Perry ends school resource officer contracts." Excerpt:
School resource officers will not be stationed in Salem-Keizer Public Schools for the foreseeable future.
Superintendent Christy Perry announced Tuesday during the Salem-Keizer School Board meeting that she will not renew SRO contracts with local law enforcement for the remainder of this year or next.
The district's most recent contracts expired in June of 2020. With continued community conversations, unclear accountability between the school board and superintendent, and closures from the pandemic, the decision of whether to renew moving forward stayed in limbo for several months.
...Activists with Latinos Unidos Siempre, known as LUS, have been advocating locally against the "school-to-prison pipeline" for more than 25 years.
Since June of 2020, in the wake of George Floyd's death, dozens of people have spoken at Salem-Keizer School Board meetings, and hundreds have signed petitions to remove officers from area schools.
Testifiers have shared personal experiences or pointed to statistics showing how students of color, students who are low-income and students with disabilities are disproportionately likely to be given suspensions and expulsions, have school-related arrests or be put into juvenile detention.
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