This year, there were protests all over the world following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many more innocent people by police officers. In response to this, The San Francisco Board of Education made a unanimous vote to minimize the presence of law enforcement in schools. Incidents can happen and, when they do, criminal justice will now be introduced to the students by school personnel, restorative practices, and community service. Per this change, the district will be revising school safety plans and putting into place clearer policies for safety and support in addition to abandoning the practice of calling police officers to solve school conflict of any kind. “With this resolution, we are declaring schools a sanctuary space from law enforcement so that we can continue to create safe, healthy, and equitable schools for all SFUSD students,” stated Commissioner Alison M. Collins. The district’s goal is to protect the youth and their families from unnecessary contact with the police. The resolution document states, “calling the police on parents, giving stay away orders, and threatening parents with staff grievances have been used to intimidate and disenfranchise parents and especially Black parents or parents of color from accessing their rights to the California of Education Codes Article 1 (5100-0015).” This code states that parents and guardians of students have the right to education by their parents with mutual support and respect. This right includes “a school environment for their child that is safe and supportive of learning.” They ask for the city’s support in reallocating police funds to community service, youth development mentoring, and other community organizations. To put this into action, SFUSD has decided not to renew its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), an arrangement between two or more parties outlined in a formal document, with the San Francisco Police Department. Our school district wants schools to be a safe and comfortable place for all. They want schools to be a sanctuary space away from law enforcement. Should law enforcement be needed on school grounds, they can be on the premises; however, their ability to contact the students is retreated. After all the protests and chaos going on, SFUSD thought it would be best to implement such changes for all schools.
The district has also voted on having a Black Studies Curriculum for all grades that honor black history, which will allow the students to educate themselves on the question of racial injustices from an early age. The course will recognize the wider impact of African American innovations as well as historical narratives that detail the experiences of the Black Community throughout American history. With all the aforementioned changes coming our way, the lookout for the SFUSD schools becoming safer and more inclusive institutions is rather promising.