by Korei Gray, Skyline High School
LET’S GET RID OF THE OPD AT OUSD
“Black youth accounted for 73.8% of all juvenile arrests by the Oakland police department since 2006 despite making up just 29.3% of Oakland’s school-age population”(Public Counsel). The school police have been discriminating black youth for a while now. The Oakland community also have been trying to get rid of the OPD for a while. “Of the roughly 1,000 school districts in California, Oakland is one of just 23 across the state—and the only one in Alameda County—with its own school police force”(McBride Oaklandside). Homeroom is a documentary that focuses on this issue. The movie follows students from Oakland High School who are trying to get rid of the Oakland Police force in their school. This movie brings to light this crucial issue of how racist the police force is to communities of color.
In World War 2 there was a need for workers to build navy ships. In Richmond, Kaiser was building navy ships. African Americans from the south came all the way to the bay area to get these jobs. The white residents of Oakland weren’t happy because the African Americans were here.
To address white residents’ fears, Murch’s research showed, the city government connected several departments, including schools, parks and recreation, and family services, with probation and criminal justice divisions to monitor “troublemakers” and delinquent youth. In 1957, Oakland Unified established its own police force.
This quote means how black students are getting treated differently than the white students. Black students in OUSD were seen as outsiders and treated differently. OUSD created its own police force because of the black students. We shouldn’t have cops in the school because they were racially profiling the blacks.
The main student that the film focused on was Denilson Garibo. Denilson was a senior who was the student director of the Oakland Unified School board. At the start of the filming of the movie, George Floyd had been murdered by the Minnesota police. George Floyd’s death and the protests by the Black Lives Matter movement inspired the students at Oakland High School to protest the presence of Oakland Police in their school. Denilson led these student protests at his school. He felt strongly about this issue because his family is undocumented and he didn’t want to put them in jeopardy. There was a school board vote to get rid of the School Police. Most of the School Board Leaders didn’t want to get rid of the school police. One quote from the movie sticks out to me. Denilson told the school leaders “You’re white, I can understand why you think the police are necessary.” Denilson then went on to talk about why the presence of police is harmful. Both of his parents are undocumented, so the presence of police is life threatening to them because at any moment they could be detained and deported. He is trying to get people to recognize the constant fear that people like him are in from the police.
Denilson’s actions and efforts were inspiring because it showed me how hard he was working and how determined he was to make the school safer for everyone by getting rid of the police. They were able to accomplish their goal even during the pandemic. I agree with Denilson’s stance against school police because they only seem to really pick on black and brown students. Most people who are arguing against this would say that we need more police in schools to keep students safe, but I disagree. The way that police treat black and brown students is very different from how they treat white people. The police represent harassment and they act like they’re above the law. I believe their actions are racist and are life threatening to me and my people.