The Los Angeles Unified School District made the shocking decision to slash over $25 million from their policing budget, which led to the dismissal of 133 police officers from schools.
Now, a National Police Association spokesperson has stated that the district’s vote to divert those funds to support a proposed Black Student Achievement Plan is incredibly misguided and dangerous.
“If I had a child in those schools, I would be very concerned,” retired Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, a 29-year-police veteran said. “It doesn’t really accomplish anything. It’s almost illogical.”
The 133 individuals who were fired included 70 sworn officers, 62 non-sworn officers, and one support staff member.
The massive reduction in staff has decreased the district’s police force budget from $77.5 million to $52.5 million.
In replacement of the police officers, the district will be bringing in new “climate coaches,” who are trained to implement “positive school culture and climate,” use “de-escalation strategies” to resolve conflict, understand and address “implicit bias,” and eliminate “racial disparity” in school discipline practices.
Board President Kelly Gonez said in a statement:
“Student safety is everyone’s responsibility and starts with creating a school environment that is centered in students’ social-emotional wellbeing. The Board’s investment in the Black Student Achievement Plan ensures we are actively working to promote equity across the District.”
Brantner Smith says the move will create problems for schools, police stations, and local communities.
“Are they harming the police officers? They are not,” she said. “They are punishing the students; they are punishing the staff, because now who is going to deal with violent students?
“What if a student does get violent or a school is broken into and you call 911? Now you’re taking the patrol officers out of the neighborhood to respond. . . . And they’re not going to have specialized school resource officer training.
“When you get an average patrol officer, do they have CIT training or any kind of counseling background? And, as training dollars are taken away from other departments – let’s say LAPD is responding – we’re not going to have specialized people to respond. So, who loses? Not the officer.”
As a result, the LASPD is now left with the dilemma of figuring out how to protect students and faculty with a slashed budget and police force.
Currently, there are about 650,000 students in the district.