For Years Before George Floyd’s Death, Schools Were Urged to Cut Ties With Police. Inside the Student Campaign That Convinced Minneapolis to Act — and Sparked a Nationwide Trend

By Beth Hawkins

Ashira Campbell, 17, with Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen during protest on June 1, 2020 (Getty Images)
Ashira Campbell, 17, with Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen during protest on June 1, 2020 (Getty Images)

‘The budget is a moral document’

In recent years, districts across the country have been under conflicting pressures. In response to mass shootings like the ones at Parkland and Santa Fe high schools in 2018, they have beefed up security — some districts going so far as to create their own police departments. At the same time, civil rights activists continue to sound the alarm about the role that police, frequently lacking training in dealing with children and de-escalating nonviolent behavior, play in racial disparities in school discipline. A 2018 New York Times investigation found that black students in Minnesota are suspended at eight times the rate of white ones. Nationally, there is a 3-to-1 disparity.

‘What I’m hoping is we listen to the community, students included.’

In the fall, Glenda Young Shinnick will be a senior at Minneapolis’s North High School, where reaction to the contract’s termination was mixed. The school serves students who live in neighborhoods with some of the most fraught police-community relations, but it also has a beloved school resource officer who is a North graduate and coach of its storied football team.

The 74 is a non-profit, non-partisan news site covering education in America.

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