Updated: Aug 30, 2022
Written by Marcha Daniels
A recently formed coalition of various grassroots and community organizations, Cancel The Contract, calls all Antelope Valley citizens to reimagine policing within our community, entrenched in a history of racism, white supremacy, and political violence. In focus, a specific demand from the group is abolishing the $1.8 million contract Antelope Valley Union High School District has with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department―raising an important question; should there be police within the educational environment?
Looking from the Civil Rights Data Collection, AVUHSD law enforcement referrals significantly make up people of color. Over 50% of all referrals reported being Black students despite only making up less than 20% of the school population. Additionally, referral rates for Latinx and disabled people of color also outnumber its population size. Black disabled students consist of 44% of law enforcement referrals despite only making up 27% of the disabled population.
The numbers are disturbing, and with recent news of a student named MiKayla Robinson―body-slammed by a school resource officer and taken into police custody without notifying her parents―the presence of police officers on campus appears only to incentivize violence, create a hostile environment, and fuel the school-to-prison pipeline. Of course, what is the alternative? Many within the group discuss de-escalation alternatives, investing in after-school programs and internships, alongside hiring more nurses, social workers, psychologists, and school counselors.
School should not be a gateway into prison; instead, a healthy environment to prepare students for their future.