Thursday, February 4, 2021

Now is the Time

Yesterday I talked about the problem of getting people to care:

This can be difficult in a culture where many are content to believe that if something isn’t a problem for them, then it just isn’t a problem. At all. 

That’s exactly where we are with the issue of removing SRO’s from our schools, unfortunately. Though the harm to Black and Brown students is well-documented, there has been consistent pushback from those whose children don’t experience the harm. 

“It doesn’t happen to my kid, so, I don’t think it really happens.”

Or, perhaps, 

“It doesn’t happen to my kid, so, it isn’t a problem for me.”

This attitude is mind-blowing to me. All of the students in our schools should matter to us. We should feel responsible for all of them. School policing is harming a specific portion of our school population and we have it in our power to do better. Schools can be safer and students can have better outcomes if we invest in counselors and restorative practices. We have the solution. 

But it involves caring about people different from ourselves and challenging assumptions we're used to falling back on.

Right now the Howard County Delegation is considering legislation proposed by Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary (Local Bill 10-21) to create police-free schools. They need to make a decision by February 5th - - that’s tomorrow. If you support this measure, now is the time to send them an email and let them know. 

Sharing from Erika Strauss Chavarria of the Anti-Racist Education Alliance:

The HoCo delegation to the MGA are unable to decide what to do about Del. Atterbeary’s police-free schools local bill, 10-21.

Their deadline to vote on this is FRIDAY, February 5! We need as many Howard County residents (or folks that work in Howard County schools) as possible to call and email their reps today or tomorrow. Use this template letter or your own to urge our lawmakers vote in favor of 10-21.  Please sign, send, and share! Thank you!

Here’s the link to the template:

You can find contact information for members of the Howard County delegation here

The practice of policing in schools has been a long-term source of limiting and damaging educational experiences for Black and Brown students. The more we learn the more we see how devastating this is: school policing actively diminishes their futures. If focusing on education is a top priority, then removing SRO’s should be at the top of the list. If we don’t act to address this we are complicit in sustaining educational malpractice. 

Creating police-free schools will make our whole community stronger. It’s not a loss. It’s an investment in our children’s future and in our future.

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