100 signatures reached
To: We are petitioning students, parents, residence, community members, and school and youth workers in South San Francisco.
End the School Liaison Officer Programs in SSFUSD
We, Students of SSFUSD, want the removal of the school liaison officer program from South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD), with the exception of emergency situations in which there is an actual real threat for great injury or death.
Why is this important?
Studies have shown that police presence and interaction with students results in higher suspensions and arrests. The presence of officers, especially armed officers, disrupts the learning environment and is consistent with what many experts call the school-to-prison pipeline. Not only does SSFUSD lack a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the police department, which establishes a guideline for how police officers should interact with students, but they also lack a clear written protocol for when school leaders should call the police. As such, in the case that an officer exercises an excessive force on a student and families decide to pursue legal action, it is unclear whether SSFPD or SSFUSD would claim liability. In addition, many students and alum from SSFUSD have expressed hurt and harm from School Liaison Officers (SLO’s) who have used these interactions with students as means to harass, collect information, and to investigate students during school hours. In 2019, SLO’s spent approximately 280 hours in SSFUSD schools, primarily in schools with a high Latinx population. Furthermore, it is ineffective and fiscally irresponsible to hire officers who are poorly trained in youth work to hold workshops, in contrast to having the city council hire actual youth workers with proper training to run effective programs (art, music, mental health) that benefit the students. The current cost of the SLO program is reported at almost half a million dollars annually. This money should be reallocated for different student programs funded by the City in order to support our youth.
Additionally, in the event that a student discloses information that may reveal that their family member is undocumented or that their cousin is a street vendor without a permit who needs to pay for rent in a city with high living costs, there is no guarantee that an officer will not use that information to make an arrest. When this occurs, the officers violate confidentiality as a means to lobby for a promotion within the department. And there is no guarantee that SSFUSD holds the legal funds to hold SSFPD accountable. This creates an environment that is counterproductive to learning in a school space, where students live with a great sense of fear. The power that officers hold to arrest, ticket, harass, or kill with the weapons at their disposal, is a conflict of interest. SSFUSD has not and cannot guarantee that these officers will be held accountable since there is no MOU, leading to an abuse of power. As such, we demand that SSFUSD discontinues the SLO program in order to establish safe, secure, and productive learning environments for all our students.