Activist-led discussion held on getting police out of South Bend schools

NOW: Activist-led discussion held on getting police out of South Bend schools

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Community members, local activists and a South Bend school board member participated in Tuesday’s “Reimagining Public Safety in Schools” discussion that looks for alternatives to having police officers inside of South Bend public schools.

Black Lives Matter South Bend organized this discussion in an attempt to share and propose alternate ways of upholding safety in schools of the South Bend Community School Corporation that could possibly update and change a 2012 memorandum that allows police officers to work in the schools.

Local activists say that having armed police officers in schools increases the number of times that black and brown students are arrested, expelled or harmed.

“Given the data, study after study shows that police do not make schools safer and, in fact, they make schools less safe for black and brown children and poor children. So, given the data, we should be making decisions that invest our dollars in strategies that work,” said Regina Williams-Preston of BLM South Bend.

School board member Leslie Wesley was also in attendance and confirmed that the South Bend Community School Corporation currently has no plan to remove police officers from schools.

“There are not any future talks of removing SRO officers,” said Leslie Wesley, School Board Member for the South Bend Community School Corporation.

Wesley plans to bring these suggestions to the school board and wants to take surveys from students in the district to see how they feel about having a police officer in their school.

The activists are suggesting that the school district should update the memorandum in a way that would allow security guards or trained peace builders to assume the safety responsibilities that police officers currently hold in South Bend schools.

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