To the Duluth Public School Board,
Our peers in Minneapolis did it. Our peers in Portland, Oregon did it. Now, it’s our turn.
We want School Resource Officers (SROs) out of our schools. We demand that Duluth Public Schools (DPS) cut all ties with the Duluth Police Department (DPD) and other punitive law enforcement bodies.
In this petition, we will outline the current problems posed by police presence in our schools, and propose solutions to these systemic problems. We hope that you take our message to heart.We believe that Black lives matter, Black stories matter, and Black futures matter. In order to ensure the futures of Black students in DPS, the DPS School Board must take direct action in stopping the school-to-prison pipeline. For years, Black and brown students have been disproportionately punished in our schools.
According to information from the Equal Justice Initiative, compared to schools without officers, schools with officers are 2.5 times more likely to refer students to law enforcement and 3.1 times more likely to arrest students. Thus, with the racial disparities already present in DPS disciplinary practices, SROs in our schools extend the reach of the school-to-prison pipeline.
Instead of SROs in our schools, we would like to see funding be spent on increasing the accessibility of resources that can be helpful to all students. These possibilities include, but are not limited to, increased hiring of staff who act as social workers and counselors.
In this time of rapid social change, we would like to emphasize this quote from Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it is done.” Not only are these proposed changes possible, but they have been done. We are fortunate enough to have activists who paved the way before us, outlining clear plans on how to remove police presence from schools and ensure the safety of all students. We specifically want to point you to the resources provided by Dignity in Schools.
We believe that DPS should take this petition as an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve the health and safety of our community as a whole.
Thank you for listening to our concerns.
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AS OF 12:15 PM ON JULY 16
(current and former)