My fight to remove police from the OUSD system began in 1992 as a member of MECHA, when we were fighting in coalition with many Eat Oakland community members of the Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) movement to combat the racial injustices and decriminalization of black and brown youth in the educational system.

I agree and support the Black Organizing Project’s movement for Police Free Schools in order to create safe, nurturing schools by implementing PBIS practices and Restorative Justice. Based on the fact that students’ amygdala does not fully mature until the age of 24, models such as PBIS should always be used as the first line of intervention for mediating student behavior. Studies by academics have shown that early psychological intervention diverts behavioral problems in children. Therefore, I support making a greater investment in counselors and mentors who are trained in PBIS Restorative Justice and creating Police Free Schools. Our children need intervention and advocacy, not cruel and inhumane punishment and imprisonment.

We need to support Violence Prevention Programs including Positively Improve School Culture & Climate, which restores justice to create a police free school, working with kids to reduce juvenile detention pipeline and encourages the Youth and family services to implement more funds and programs to fund the reduction of onsite police. Our school counselors need to be part of this process as well. They are an essential part of ensuring a child’s educational success and can assist in reducing recidivism, by identifying the issues and providing the proper resources needed to the child and their family. Educational success improves when they feel they have a safe place to express their emotional, psychological, and economic needs that a child needs to reduce recidivism instead of criminalizing kids).