Board member Monica Ratliff’s effort to quantify how much LA Unified spends on legal defenses to redirect the funds toward student safety improvement programs, ran into a barrage of opposition this morning as the district board began a long day of meetings.
Ratliff introduced two resolutions in an open session meeting. One seeks to add an adult to every district classroom and the second would add police officers to any school that requests extra security. But it was the latter of the two met with heavy criticism from several community groups.
“This resolution is extremely troubling for us,” Zoe Rawson, a lawyer with the Community Rights Campaign told the board. The non-profit group has worked closely with the district to implement restorative justice programs.
“This is a step backwards in terms of the work that we have done together over many many years…It’s a passive response to school safety to just assign a police officer to an elementary campus when we know that there’s more proactive intervention strategies,” she said.
Manuel Criollo, an organizer with the same group, said he is confused by Ratliff’s motion. “Just last year she was against expanding the budget for school police,” he said, referring to her efforts to block an increase in school police funding and reallocate the money to expanding the district’s janitorial staff.
The board will take up the vote when it comes back from closed session later today.