The fallout of the the George Floyd tragedy has led to peaceful protests throughout the country which has led to intimidation, unnecessary force and violence towards peaceful demonstrators. Here in Kalamazoo, we saw militarized officers use force to drive away people who had no intention of becoming violent. There was also a lack of protection when it came to high school students demonstrating last week, which led to premeditated vehicular assault on high school students, according to witnesses.

This has led to many people losing even more faith in the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. One group, PACCT has declared: "Due to ongoing police violence nationwide and in light of recent local events that have demonstrated law enforcement’s disregard for the safety of our youth, it has become clear that the presence of police in our students’ learning environment is inherently unsafe."

According to their petition, PACCT and community partners are now calling on Kalamazoo Public Schools to immediately terminate School Resource Officer agreements with local law enforcement agencies and immediately remove any law enforcement personnel that are assigned to or otherwise routinely present in school buildings or on school property or during regular school hours and any school-run events and activities. This applies not only to SROs, but also to any law enforcement official, affiliate, contractor, or staff that:

  • Has the power to arrest, detain, interrogate, question, fine or ticket students on municipal code, juvenile, criminal or immigration-related matter and/or has the power to punish youth for violations of probation or parole
  • Carries any type of weapon, including but not limited to a firearm, baton, taser, rubber bullets, bean bags, mace, pepper/OC spray, and/or carry handcuffs or other forms of restraint.
  • Reports to,  is certified by, or receives training from a police department, including personnel who can report students to a gang database or other police databases.

They're also very adamant that heavy restrictions and policies be put in place if a real need for them occurs. The group believes eliminating police presence is a necessary safety measure and an important step in eliminating the School to Prison Pipeline.

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