In 2014, LAUSD made a decision to take away school police officers from the system. In response, violence increased as students became more prone to fighting and committing crimes. Violence has been on the rise since then as school districts across the nation struggle with how best to provide security without compromising other important services for their students.
(CBSLA) – LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A CBS2 News investigation discovered concerns about rising crime after the school board defunded the police department in the three months since students returned to campus in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
(Photo courtesy of CBS)
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As part of the “defund the cops” push, one-third of the school police budget was reduced. Because no officers are stationed at schools, several parents are concerned about their children’s safety.
CBS2 Investigates discovered footage that indicate what some parents are concerned about.
A 15-year-old girl is shown on camera being thrown to the ground and reportedly abused by kids outside the school.
“What happened to my daughter?” I wonder. Please assist me in determining what’s going on,” Brittany Jackson, who came to pick up her daughter shortly after the incident, stated. “Just to see that on school grounds is horrifying.”
Jackson claimed her daughter fractured her nose and got a concussion, and she is now concerned about her two children at school.
“I’m not even sure I can send them.” I have to be concerned for eight hours a day. “Will my kids be able to make it home from school?” According to Jackson.
That isn’t the only school brawl seen on video.
CBS2 Investigates received footage of conflicts inside classrooms and outdoors on school grounds from police sources. Some have speculated that the increase in fighting is due to a reduction of school police.
“I don’t understand why they got rid of all the cops.” I’m furious about it. “I’m at a loss for words,”??? remarked.
In a tumultuous school board meeting in February, the board agreed to reduce the school police budget by $25 million, eliminating 133 jobs, including 70 sworn officers, and leaving just 211 officers on the force.
The board decided to spend part of that money on hiring counselors and social workers in an attempt to avoid violence.
Joseph Williams is a member of the Black Lives Matter movement.
He said, “Police on campuses have a very damaging influence on kids of color.”
However, one LAUSD principal who agreed to speak on the condition that their face and voice be hidden stated the schools are less secure. The principal didn’t hesitate when asked whether the school police were missing on campus.
“Tremendously. “It’s a feeling of security,” the principal said.
CBS2 Investigates also inquired whether the principal is worried about his or her own personal safety.
“I’m doing it all the time now.” You ponder about it on your way to work, during work, and on your way home. Is it really worth it? “They’re endangering kids, educators, and parents,” the principal said.
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CBS2 has repeatedly requested the school police for crime data, but they have not answered.
However, police sources have given certain crime records, which include a criminal threat at Franklin High School, an attack and battering of a school staff at Marshal High School, and a sex offense at Muir Middle School, among other things.
According to a newsletter from the Associated Administrators of LA, an organization that represents district administrators, there were 108 attacks from August to October 2021, with 16 children needing hospitalization.
(Photo courtesy of CBS)
According to police sources, 44 weapons have been discovered, including five pistols and 32 knives, and the problem isn’t due to a lack of cops on patrol.
The head of the Los Angeles School Police Association, Gilbert Gamez, said, “Our officers have been advised, rightly, to remain off campus.”
“When they came to campus, staff from the district informed them they had to leave or ‘what is your business here?’” According to Gamez. “Some of the police ask, ‘Can we use the restroom?’ and they are told, ‘No, you can’t.’ ‘You are no longer permitted on campus.’
Williams, on the other hand, said that the police were not always helpful.
“When school police were still there, there were conflicts in schools and problems on school grounds.” “School police were not deterring, but rather intensifying and exacerbating some of these incidents,” he added.
CBS2 Investigates attempted to interview LAUSD School Police Chief Leslie Ramirez about the situation twice, but she canceled each times.
Monica Garcia, the school member who championed the cuts, said she would not be available for an interview. In reality, all of the board members either indicated they weren’t accessible or didn’t reply to our queries via their offices.
So, CBS2 Investigates met up with school board member Nick Melvoin at a public event to find out what’s going on with administrators who are afraid and believe police should be back on campus.
“We need to improve our provision of non-police resources.” “We need to provide schools a variety of tools to reinvent public safety so that our workers and communities are both safe,” Melvoin said.
However, Jackson is concerned that crimes like these would continue until that occurs.
“I never want to send kids back to the public school system,” she said emphatically.
After removing police from high schools, the Pomona School District decided a few weeks ago to bring them back. However, in September, the LA school board rejected a motion that would have enabled individual middle and high schools to determine whether or not to reinstate a police officer on campus.
It depends on who you ask if the additional school counselors and social workers are making an impact. Some say they’re better than having cops on campus, and kids are happier as a result, but the real test will come after the school year, when they can analyze the figures to see how it affects crime.
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