If you wonder why the Maryland State legislature has been working on police reform throughout this session, this is why. If you wonder why they pressed on to override the Governor’s veto, this is why. Throughout this country policing is unequal and oversight is woefully inadequate.
This must stop.
The same is true for the policing of Black and Brown students in our schools. Police look at them and treat them differently than white students, and the consequences are devastating. We didn’t have SRO’s in this country until after schools were integrated. People in power looked at the prospect of Black and Brown children coming into what had previously been all-white spaces and decided in advance that those they perceived as “different” were automatically dangerous. And needed policing.
It has been a self-fulfilling prophecy from the outset. Police find what they are predisposed to see. Students’ educational experience and future prospects are diminished. White students see a distorted process where Black and Brown students are criminalized for behaviors that would warrant white students a talking-to or redirection. So white students are taught, by default, that this is normal, the right way to do things.
It may be the norm, but it is definitely not right. The injustice meted out in our schools or on the streets shows a systemic pattern of racism and violence. Some are singled out. Some are spared.
And it goes on and on.
Over and over.
Fathers and sons murdered.
A mother killed in front of her child.
Anguished protesters tear-gassed and beaten.
In Maryland Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary and her colleagues in Annapolis were not willing for this to go on forever. I am thankful for their work and their persistence. In Howard County we must do the same. We must make it clear to our Board of Education and our Superintendent that police do not belong in schools. No matter how long it takes, we must persist.
But today we grieve.