Decades Long Fight by National, Local Organizations Lead to Unanimous School Board Vote in Denver - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Decades Long Fight by National, Local Organizations Lead to Unanimous School Board Vote in Denver

Denver Public School Board votes to end contract with Denver Police Department

Unanimously, the Denver Public School Board Thursday night voted to end the contract between Denver Public Schools (DPS) and the Denver Police Department.

The resolution that the school board voted on calls for a 25 percent reduction of school resource officers (SROs) by December 2020 and the complete elimination of SROs in DPS by the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Additionally, it directs the superintendent to reallocate money used for SROs toward social workers, counselors, restorative justice, and other practices.

Advancement Project National Office and Denver-based partner, Padres y Jóvenes Unidos (PJU), have been fighting to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline in Denver for two decades. The partnership began in 2000, when the organizations attended the first national zero tolerance summit. In 2005, the organizations released a report together called Education on Lockdown: The Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track and by 2008, had established enough power locally to rewrite DPS’ disciplinary code. In 2013, Advancement Project National Office and PJU addressed a historic and significant intergovernmental agreement between DPS and DPD, which limited the role of SROs. This decision was followed by The 4th Annual Denver Community Accountability Report Card: Toward Ending the School-to-Jail Track in Denver Public Schools and set the stage for the #PoliceFreeSchools and #CounselorsNotCops campaigns, as well as Advancement Project National Office’s We Came to Learn: A Call to Action for Police-Free Schools and an interactive microsite, featuring an #AssaultAt map charting incidences of police violence against students in their schools since 2009.

The monumental decision made on Thursday night is the result of work done by Black and Brown youth organizers for years and follows similar precedent-setting decisions made in Minneapolis and Portland after the brutal murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on Monday, May 25.

“Padres y Jóvenes Unidos has been an Advancement Project National Office partner since 2000. Eight years into our partnership, we built enough power to rewrite DPS’ disciplinary code,” explained Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project National Office. “In 2008, PJU was able to write a new contract with the police to limit their role in Denver schools. Now, in 2020 we get to witness a huge and incredibly meaningful win for PJU and the young people who organize in Denver. Denver Public Schools will be police free. As a result, Black and Brown students won’t face criminalization or possible brutality in school hallways. The district can now work with students to create nurturing learning environments where they can thrive. We have been honored to support young people at Padres y Jóvenes Unidos for the last 20 years leading up to this incredible victory. We hope other districts will follow Denver’s example.”

During the five school years from 2014-15 through 2018-19, there were 4,540 police tickets and arrests of students within DPS. Twenty-seven percent of those tickets and arrests were of Black students, while 53 percent were of Latinx students, and 87 percent were of students of color. These numbers underscore that the school-to-prison pipeline is alive and well in Denver, fueled by the presence of police in schools.

Research and the experiences of young people of color have taught us that police in schools create a toxic school climate. #PoliceFreeSchools are essential to the well-being of our Black and Brown youth. Advancement Project National Office applauds Padres y Jóvenes Unidos and the Denver School Board for their roles in ensuring the safety of Black and Brown students in their schools.

Following the leads of Minneapolis, Portland, and Denver, Advancement Project National Office also acknowledges the June 11 decision by the city of Charlottesville and the Charlottesville Police Department in their agreement to take SROs out of Charlottesville’s schools.

To learn more about the campaign for #PoliceFreeSchools, visit: https://advancementproject.org/wecametolearn/.

###

 

KEEP READING

Advancement Project National Office Responds to First 2020 Presidential Debate

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off in the first of three 2020 presidential debates. On the topic of national protests resulting from the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others, Advancement Project National Office released the following statement.

Read More
Advancement Project National Office Responds to Breonna Taylor Decision

Six months have passed since Louisville police murdered 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in her home on March 13, 2020. After months of nationwide protest and uprisings, and both local and national demands to defund the police, a Louisville Grand Jury’s decision was announced today. Attorney General Daniel Cameron today made an announcement regarding the investigation into Taylor’s murder, stating that it was not up to him to decide if the loss of Breonna’s life was a tragedy and that, “the answer to that question was unequivocally yes.” However, the Grand Jury’s decision to indict only one of…

Read More
Civil Rights Organizations Debunk Myths of No COVID-19 Cases in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison

Impacted people behind bars share harrowing stories of coronavirus outbreaks, unsanitary conditions Baton Rouge, LA – Last night, several civil rights and racial justice organizations pushed back on efforts by the Sheriff and Warden of the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison to silence the detainees trapped inside the facility and to hide from community members and taxpayers what the organizations say is really happening in the jail.  The Sheriff and Warden, defendants in a federal lawsuit filed by the advocates, claim that the jail has the coronavirus pandemic under control, but the plaintiffs and…

Read More
Webinar on the Power of Sheriffs in Florida – August 10, 2020 at 2pET/11aPT

On Monday, August 10, 2020, at 2p ET/11a PT, join Advancement Project National Office, Dream Defenders and New Florida Majority for a webinar on the power and role of sheriffs in Florida, and how sheriffs impact the school-to-prison pipeline. Learn about organizing efforts to defund policing budgets and address harm throughout Florida, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Receive political education about the history of policing and what communities are doing to build power to build a world without police. Register today!  …

Read More
Advancement Project National Office Supports New Counseling Not Criminalization Bill

Lawmakers today introduced a bill to help schools cut ties with police. Under the Counseling Not Criminalization Act, Federal funding would be prohibited from being used to hire, train, or keep law enforcement in schools. In addition, the bill would create a $2.5 billion grant program to replace police in schools with school psychologists, social workers, and other staff who are suited to help support mental health and provide trauma-informed services to young people.  The Senate version of the Counseling Not Criminalization Act was introduced by Senators Chris Murphy and Elizabeth…

Read More
The Power of Prosecutors – Video and Infographic

Prosecutors (also known as state attorneys or district attorneys) have enormous power in shaping justice in our communities. You have the power to elect prosecutors committed to ending mass incarceration. Watch our town hall “The Power of Prosecutors: Know Before You Vote,” and share our infographic. It’s time for people of color to be #FreeAndSafe…

Read More
Advancement Project National Office Celebrates National Cousin’s Day!

Did you know July 24 is a national holiday? Advancement Project National Office uplifts National Cousins Day today, which celebrates the extended family members we know and love – our cousins. During this sustained moment of protest and unrest across the country, as well as calls for truth, racial justice and reconciliation, it’s time to lean into the honest perspectives our cousins often provide. When it comes to race, our family can harbor views and beliefs that are ill-informed, ignorant, and damaging.  Because of this, conversations around race can…

Read More
Players Coalition, National and Local Organizations to Host Virtual Town Hall

With upcoming prosecutorial elections, discussion will highlight the power of local prosecutors and empower voters to improve their legal landscapes   Tomorrow, July 22 at 6 p.m. ET, Players Coalition Charitable Foundation, Advancement Project National Office, and local organizations will host “Power of Prosecutors: Know Before You Vote,” a virtual town hall to discuss the power of local prosecutors and to empower voters to fight mass incarceration by holding prosecutors accountable by heading to the polls. Michigan’s two…

Read More
Huge Win in Campaign to Close Notorious St. Louis Jail

St. Louis elected officials unanimously vote to close the medium security institute, known as 'the Workhouse,' after two-year campaign

Read More
We will win with supporters like you, Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation & Jack Dorsey of Twitter’s #startsmall

Since mid-March, Advancement Project National Office’s team has been entrenched in advocacy, communications and litigation—fighting to make sure community members in jail are #FreeAndSafe during COVID-19 and calling for for accountability and demanding cities and counties #DefundThePolice . Our team has been working around the clock, fatigued yet energized by wins across the country,petition signatures and calls to policymakers, and the 110,000 new supporters to our campaign for #FreeAndSafe communities. As we close the month of June, we also want to thank Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation and Jack Dorsey of Twitter’s #startsmall. In response to the urgent need for police accountability, the Clara Lionel…

Read More