The Kern Education Justice Collaborative has launched a petition demanding the Kern High School District defund the KHSD Police Department ahead of KHSD's Monday board of trustees meeting in which the district will adopt its 2020-2021 district budget.
The petition was launched Thursday and by Friday afternoon it had received more than 700 signatures towards its 1,000 signature goal. The petition aims to stop increases in funding toward KHSD PD seen over the past few years, according to organizer Ucedrah Osby, chapter president of All of Us or None.
“They're planning to spend about $4 million (toward KHSD PD) and we don’t think they should go to the police,” Osby said. “We do not think police should be in school. Students feel intimidated and do not feel that it’s a learning environment.”
The petition calls for the district’s funds to be redirected from the police to hiring additional counselors, school-based social workers, psychologists, mental health clinicians and nurses. It also demands the hiring of diverse educators that “reflect the student population” and for an implementation of ethnic studies.
KHSD didn't return a request for comment regarding the petition.
Osby said she got involved with her organizations in 2017 when she observed students of color were being suspended or expelled at disproportionately higher rates than white students. She attends each board of trustees meeting but said she's been met with “resistance.”
“Our students are still being put in the school-to-prison pipeline,” Osby alleged. “They’re still getting discriminated against for their race and they don’t have people in the culture that they come from and they don’t understand.”
KHSD will hold the open session of its board of trustees meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the board room at 5801 Sundale Ave. Citizens may submit comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than noon Monday.
“We need the support of our entire community to show up with us and stand with us in solidarity and know this is not the best way for our children,” Osby said.