WCCUSD ousts school resource officers

WCCUSD eliminating school resource officers in wake of George Floyd killing
Photo: Mike Kinney

The West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) will end contracts with police agencies that assist in public safety at schools, the district’s Board of Education voted Wednesday. The $1.5 million in police services budgeted for next fiscal year will now be transferred to efforts to support African American student achievement, the district said.

The transfer of funds will support a new resolution to allocate $7 million specifically for services for African American students in the district. The Board passed a $377 million district budget for next fiscal year.

For several years, some in the district and school community have advocated for removing school resource officers from campuses and replacing their services with a restorative justice model. Wednesday’s action followed a national call to transfer police funding to alternative public safety strategies in the wake of the killing of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.

Some in the community questioned the Board’s decision, saying the public didn’t have adequate time to comment about the school resource officer program.

“Where was the public input? Where were discussions with the cities that are affected?” Sue Pricco of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association stated on social media. “Seems like a hasty decision.”

In a district statement, Board President Stephanie Hernandez-Jarvis said the decisions “move this District away from using the punitive presence of law enforcement to a more supportive and restorative model that protects students from the threat of police surveillance and violence in our schools.”

As part of the resolution passed by the Board, the WCCUSD superintendent must develop “antiracist policies and procedures and provide training for teachers, staff, and administrators to understand race/racism and its impact on teaching, learning, and knowledge transmission, recognize differences between antiracism and multiculturalism in pedagogy, curriculum, and educational advocacy, and understand how place (geography) and institutional culture are uniquely important to the implementation of such programs,” according to the district.