Oakland Unified School District votes to replace police with mental health staff

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OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Replacing police officers with mental health staff.

Oakland Unified School District is now working to remove its police department from its schools after a unanimous vote on Wednesday.

The work to do this is only just beginning.

“As a board when we vote unanimously, we send a direct message to our superintendent which is get it done,” OUSD board member Rosie Torres said.

A vote 10 years in the making according to the Black Organizing Project, also known as BOP — a local organization working for racial justice.

“It’s not glamorous. There’s hours that are put into this,” Desiree Mims said. “There’s sweat and tears and i’m just so proud of us and i’m so proud of community.”

The Oakland Unified School District’s Board of Education unanimously voted to adopt the “George Floyd Resolution” on Wednesday — to eliminate the only Alameda County school district police department.

The resolution was introduced earlier this month, but has been worked on for years by BOP.

“Make no mistake that that took community pressure and the system doesn’t actually self correct,” Jacquelyn Byers said. “We waited way too long for this but we are glad that we are here right now.”

On Monday, a rally was held outside district headquarters in downtown Oakland.

On Wednesday night — a celebration began after the board voted unanimously to begin disbanding the school district’s police department. It will now redirect the money spent on uniformed armed officers into social services — like counselors and mental health staff — for students.

According to the resolution — the planning process begins at the end of august and they’ll move forward with eliminating the police from schools by the end of the year and begin to start the process of developing an alternative plan for school safety.

The school district superintendent released a statement that said in part:

“With the energy and focus of our community behind us, we can deepen partnerships with other government agencies and nonprofits to build cross-sector coalitions. we can rethink how we use city resources  together with district resources – to address the root causes of disproportionately.”

“This win is for our children, this win is for my children and the generations to come,” Mims said.

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