Minneapolis public schools have voted to end their $1.1 million contract with the city’s police department following the death of George Floyd.
“We want justice for George Floyd, and we know that justice isn’t enough. And now is the time to defund the police and invest in community,” says Kandace Montgomery with the Minneapolis organization Black Visions.
The board unanimously voted after agreeing the actions of the police against Floyd “run directly counter to the values the District seeks in partners.”
Their district policy states: “Minneapolis Public Schools is committed to identifying and correcting practices and policies that perpetuate the achievement gap and institutional racism in all forms in order to provide all of its students with the opportunity to succeed…the elimination of bias, particularly racism and cultural bias, as factors affecting student achievement and learning experiences, and to promote learning and work environments that welcome, respect and value diversity.”
The Minneapolis superintendent promises to begin work on an alternative method to assure the safety of the districts 35,000+ students in the upcoming school year.
According to Truthout, students and community groups in Minneapolis had been urging the school district for years to remove police — often referred to as school resource officers — from schools. Other incidents have occurred in the past that warranted a change in policy, they argued, and now Floyd’s death seems to have been the tipping point for the policy change this week.
“We cannot continue to be in partnership with an organization that has the culture of violence and racism that the Minneapolis police department has historically demonstrated. We have to stand in solidarity with our black students,” says Nelson Inz, one of the school board members.
According to The Guardian, during the school board meeting, several members praised the work of individual police officers who had served in Minneapolis public schools as “school resource officers” and said at least a few of the officers did have deep, meaningful community relationships that would be missed.
This move is a huge victory for activists across the nation who have been fighting for the removal of the police force from all schools.
“More than 70% of public secondary schools and 30% of primary schools in the United States have sworn law enforcement officers who routinely carry firearms,” writes The Guardian.