Advancement Project, Alliance for Educational Justice and Texas Appleseed React to Department of Justice Uvalde Report
WASHINGTON, DC – In response to the Department of Justice’s newly released report describing the police response to the mass shooting that led to the killing of 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, spokespeople from Advancement Project, Alliance for Educational Justice and Texas Appleseed issued this statement:
“It has never been clearer – police in school do not protect young people from harm. Ninety officers from 23 agencies including the US Border Patrol, the Texas Department for Public Safety, and the local police department were unable to prevent Uvalde. This is more than the failure of individuals–this is a systemic problem of assuming protecting young people is a core function of policing,” said Tyler Whittenberg, Deputy Director of Opportunity to Learn at Advancement Project.
“The Department of Justice recommends increasing police involvement in day-to-day operations of schools through threat assessment teams and intergovernmental agreements. Yet, evidence-based research demonstrates that increasing police presence in schools creates toxic environments focused on controlling and intimidating young people,” said Leidy Robledo, Co-Director at Alliance for Educational Justice. Students of color bear the brunt of school policing and are more likely to be arrested and physically assaulted while attending a school that has a police officer but no counselor. The findings of the Department of Justice’s report only confirm that school policing does not equate to school safety.
“We cannot afford to have another tragedy like Robb Elementary. After the Columbine shooting in 1999, Congress began providing federal dollars for school police, and other measures to harden schools and surveil students increased across the country. And yet, we are no closer to creating safe schools for our young people,” said Andrew Hairston, Director of the Education Justice Project at Texas Appleseed. “The answer is clear – we must invest in mental health supports and professionals, as well as restorative justice and trauma-informed practices. Young people need a community of care, not cops and metal detectors, to truly learn in safety. We grieve with the families who lost loved ones at Robb Elementary. This report underscores the need to find new ways to keep our communities safe rather than rely on the appearance of safety.”
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Advancement Project is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. We are a co-convener of the National Campaign for Police Free schools, a formation of 20+ youth-led grassroots organizations fighting to end the criminalization of youth in the classroom, create liberatory educational spaces, and implement an affirmative vision of safety and transformative justice.Visit www.advancementproject.org to learn more.
The Alliance for Educational Justice is a national network of 30 youth-led and intergenerational groups across 12 states and 14 cities dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. Formed by its members, the Alliance brings two decades’ experience of building powerful campaigns for systemic change at the local, state and federal level. Core to us is a belief in youth organizing as an approach and proven methodology to develop youth leadership, facilitate personal transformation and create community change. We are a co-convener of the National Campaign for Police Free schools, a formation of 20+ youth-led grassroots organizations fighting to end the criminalization of youth in the classroom, create liberatory educational spaces, and implement an affirmative vision of safety and transformative justice.Visit policefreeschools.org to learn more.
As one of the most trusted resources for data-driven policy analysis and solutions, Texas Appleseed advocates at the state and local level for fair, just, and equitable laws. Our work has shaped hundreds of laws and positively affected millions of Texans by breaking down barriers through transformative policy solutions. Visit www.TexasAppleseed.org for more information.