Puente Youth and Advancement Project Call on Phoenix Union High School District to Reject Return of Harmful Policing and Invest in Students
PHOENIX, AZ — Yesterday, Phoenix Union High School District (the District) heard testimony on a school safety committee’s recommendations, including on bringing School Resource Officers (SROs) to the District after voting to remove school police in 2020. The District also temporarily extended an agreement with the city for off-duty police officers. Young people with Puente Human Rights Movement spoke out about the harms of school policing and advocated against adopting the committee’s recommendations.
“The District must follow through on its commitment to a community-driven vision of school safety, and must reject the school safety committee’s reactionary proposal, made without community, to bring school police back. This approach will only fail students and families,” said Michelle Ruiz, Youth Organizer at Puente Human Rights Movement “In 2020, the School Board acknowledged that police do not prevent school shootings or keep our students safe. In fact, school police only perpetrate harm and violence – particularly against students of color, immigrant students, LGBTQ students and those with disabilities. This is why Puente Human Rights Movement fought to remove police from schools. Phoenix students and families deserve courageous, not reactionary, leadership, who will actually do the hard work of systems transformation that results in real safety for young people. The District must invest in the supports young people are telling the district they need. We call on the School Board to reject the committee’s recommendations, and to listen to the communities it purports to serve – not state leadership with a racist political agenda.”
“As I testified yesterday, the Phoenix Police Department is one of the most violent police departments in the country. Putting police in our schools will not make them less violent. Cops are cops. They cause harm in our schools and our communities, and they do not belong in our schools and our communities. ” said Jayden Huerta, intern youth organizer with Puente Human Rights Movement. “Students, caregivers, and educators deserve welcoming, caring school environments and that starts with relationships rooted in trust, investing in mental health supports, restorative justice and trauma-informed practices.”
“Puente has been working with students for years, talking with them about how to make their schools welcoming and safe spaces. National data shows that police do not make schools safe. The more time we spend talking about school police, the less time we dedicate to finding real solutions,” said Leidy Robledo, Senior Campaign Strategy Associate at Advancement Project.
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Puente Youth Puente Human Rights Movement is a grassroots human rights organization centered on improving the quality of life for Arizona’s most marginalized communities. Our mission is to educate, organize, and empower our communities to unite and build political power in a collective effort to bring about lasting change to our state. Our Puente Youth Program centers the development of young people through culture, politics, leadership, and community organizing for long-term political change.
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. Visit www.advancementproject.org to learn more.