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Los Angeles school board reduces district police force by one-third

Feb. 17, 2021
At secondary schools, police officers will be replaced by "school climate coaches."

The Los Angeles Unified school board has voted to cut 133 positions from the district's police department, ban the use of pepper spray on students and use $25 million in funding cut from the department to better support Black students.

CBS Los Angeles reports that the board voted to cut 70 sworn officers, 62 non-sworn officers and one support staff member from the police department. Chief Leslie Ramirez says her department will be left with 211 officers after the reduction.

The sworn officers will be replaced at secondary school sites by school climate coaches—community members who will help mentor students.

A poll commissioned by the district found that a majority of students, parents and district employees supported the presence of school police on campuses, but the results also showed that only 35% of Black students felt safe with the officers on campus. 

The board also decided that the $25 million in cuts to the police force would be allocated to the Black Student Achievement Plan, a $36.5 million plan to support Black students by investing in school climate and wellness, social workers and counselors and professional development.

In response to the board action, Ramirez issued a written statement that said the  police department will "remain focused on supporting the district and providing safety-related services that support student achievement and positive outcomes is paramount."

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