Why are we talking about police-free schools?
In the next few board meetings, SJUSD will be voting on if they want to continue having police on campus/SROs (School Resource Officers).
What’s the problem with having police on campus?
-Studies show police on campus do not help prevent or stop school shooters. So SJUSD is paying $1.3 million dollars for the illusion of safety, that could better be spent on interventions that do work such as mental health professionals, culturally relevant curriculum, and restorative justice.
-In fact, having police on campus is often harmful to Black and Latinx and BIPOC students, and students with disabilities, who are more likely to be suspended, cited. arrested, and expelled for normal teenage behavior.
-Having police on campus is triggering for students who have experienced trauma from police violence. Feeling anxious and afraid due to police presence disrupts their learning.
What about safety and school shootings?
-It’s important to understand safety that centers the most vulnerable students. While having police/SROs might make some students feel safe, they make other students feel unsafe, both because police trigger traumatic experiences for some kids, and because SROs sometimes harass, intimidate, and mistreat students of color and students with disabilities.
-In a true emergency, schools can call 9-11. This is what elementary schools do, as they do not have campus police/SROs. Middle Schools and High Schools also call 9-11, as usually a campus police officer does not deal with an emergency alone.
-San José has the Guardian Program, where SJPD has officers stationed in patrol cars near schools, dedicated to swiftly responding to active shootings.
What are the alternatives?
-School districts all around the country are choosing to remove police and reinvest in their students.
-mental health professionals, ethnic studies, social workers, and restorative justice practitioners all have a tangible, positive impact on students well-being and safety.
What is the Derrick Sanderlin Resolution?
The Derrick Sanderlin Resolution was written by SJUSD teachers and passed by SJTA, the teachers union. It calls for the end of the district's contract with the San José Police Department. This is an all-encompassing resolution that addresses the racist history of school policing. The resolution also calls for
replacing punitive discipline with restorative justice practices,
implementing an ethnic studies curriculum,
providing counseling and holistic student health services,
and investing in a community-created district safety plan.
How Can I get involved?
-Make your voice heard! Come to the last three board meetings of the year on the next two Thursdays: June 10th and June 24th. They will be held in person at district headquarters, 855 Lenzen Ave, and begin with public comments at 6 pm.
Join the San José Unified Equity Coalition! We are a grassroots volunteer coalition of parents, students, teachers, and community members who care about safety and equity in our schools.