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Activists call on Sacramento city schools to end contract with police department

Parents are ordering the district to invest in counselors to help students who need it instead of spending the money on having cops on campus.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Dozens of Sacramento City Unified School District parents, students and community organizers are demanding the district pledges to end future contracts with the Sacramento Police Department.

Instead, they are calling for the district to create an alternative safety plan by removing all student resource officers from schools. They want the district to invest money in hiring more counselors to prevent conflicts on campuses.

"We need to end this school to prison pipeline," said Alejandro Fisher, a SCUSD student.

The new plan would allow schools to decide how to use the money spent on the district’s contract with Sacramento police.

Having School Resource Officers (SROs) isn't what we need, Fisher said. 

"A lot of situations like that happen in our district, and I can’t speak for all my peers, but that’s just incredibly unfair," Fisher said. "And we need counselors and better trained officials to handle the situations better so we don’t feel punished."

Carl Pinkston with the Black Parallel School Board said the issue with SROs is simple: You won't see police at affluent school district, but you will find them in lower income schools.

"The challenge is that we are dominantly students of color and low income we seem to be over criminalized," Pinkston said.

The district says it doesn't have police officers stationed at campuses. Instead, a Sacramento police sergeant and three resource officers monitor campuses and respond to school incidents.

In 2019, the district cut the number of school resource officers by more than half.

District officials say the current contract with Sacramento Police ends June 30. The district’s budget will be discussed on Thursday, but its contract with the police is not on the agenda.

That contract costs the district $900,000 and allows Sacramento Police to provide security for large events like football games.

Alma Lopez with the organization Brown Issues is demanding that the school district not extend the contract police department.

Lopez says the district should instead allow parents, teachers and students help create the safety plan.

"Let's reinvest those funds in social workers, mental health supporters, more academic staff," Lopez said. "Resources that are truly needed at the schools so our students can thrive academically and personally."

School district officials declined to provide ABC10 with a comment for this story.

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