Oakland School Board Votes to Dismantle Its Own Police Force

June 25, 2020 Updated: June 25, 2020

The Oakland Unified School District in California voted in a board meeting that it would no longer station any police officer on its campuses.

The school board members on Wednesday unanimously agreed on the “George Floyd Resolution,” which calls to disband the school district’s police force of 10 sworn officers and 50 unarmed school safety officers.

“It has become clear that the District can no longer sit quietly and employ its own police force amid countless acts of violence,” the solution reads, claiming that “systematic racism and violence” have been so “deeply embedded” in the Oakland Schools Police Department that black students, with just 26 percent of enrollment, have accounted for 73 percent of arrests.

While decrying anti-black racism in policing, the resolution nonetheless says the district, which serves nearly 50,000 students, will “utilize” the Oakland Police Department in “emergency situations requiring law enforcement.”

Oakland Schools Police Department Chief Jeff Godown confirmed to KRON4 that the district will rely on Oakland police in the future.

“Those calls are still going to be answered and if somebody from the school picks up the phone and dials 911 like we do now,” Godown told the news outlet. “The only difference is my office is not going to respond, OPD is going to respond.”

Amid the unrest following the death of George Floyd in the custody of four Minneapolis police officers, schools across the nation are prompted to re-examine their relationships with campus and non-campus police. Earlier this month, Minneapolis Public Schools announced it would end a decades-long tie with the Minneapolis Police Department, which provided school resource officers to the district’s campuses.

Meanwhile, some major school districts have rejected the demands of activists and some politicians who are calling for eliminating police presence on campuses, largely due to safety concerns. Chicago Public School on Wednesday voted down a proposal that would have terminate its $33 million agreement with the city’s police department to post police officers in schools.

“I ask those who advocate that school resource officers to be removed from schools, please go into the communities impacted by violence,” said Chicago school board member Dwayne Truss, who cast a “no” vote. “Schools are not going to have that safety net that they have,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School District rejected a trio of police reform proposals, one of which would have cut the district’s police department budget by 90 percent by the 2023-24 school year.

“If you take away police … you’re still going to have people victimized,” Los Angeles school police department chief Todd Chamberlain said to the school board. “You’ll still have crime and still have an environment that’s not safe.”