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Some parents in Los Angeles are advocating for the return of police officers to school campuses after violence in the school district nearly doubled following the removal of police in the wake of the George Floyd protests in 2020. Maria Luisa Palma, a member of the Parents Advisory Committee in Los Angeles, organized a petition calling for the return of police as data showed a significant increase in violent incidents in schools. Palma’s petition has garnered over 2,500 signatures from parents across the district.

In 2021, Students Deserve, a progressive student organization, successfully pressured the LAUSD and school board to divest money from the Los Angeles School District Police. The group argued that the presence of police officers in schools often led to the criminalization of students, especially those from marginalized communities, and created a hostile and intimidating environment that hindered learning. Students Deserve worked closely with Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and the California Teacher’s Association to reallocate $25 million from the school police to alternative support services like counselors and mental health professionals.

Despite the efforts of Parents Advisory Committee members like Palma, the school board voted unanimously in February 2021 to eliminate officers stationed in schools and rejected a resolution in September 2021 that would have reinstated police. Students Deserve representatives continue to advocate at board meetings against investing funds in the school’s police department, claiming the board listens to their demands over those of parents. The board is currently developing a new safety plan, but it remains unclear whether police officers will be reinstated in schools as part of the plan.

Parents in Los Angeles are frustrated with the rise in violence in schools and are demanding the return of police officers to curb the escalating incidents. Palma believes that the decision to remove police officers from schools was a political statement to appease the defund the police movement rather than a matter of funding constraints. Violence in schools has continued to increase, with parents and teachers reporting regular 911 calls for assistance. The opposition between parents advocating for police presence and activist groups arguing against it has led to tension and clashes within the school district.

As violence in Los Angeles schools continues to rise, parents are pushing back against activist groups who have successfully lobbied for the removal of police officers from campuses. The Parents Advisory Committee, led by Maria Luisa Palma, has organized a petition calling for the return of police based on data showing a significant increase in violent incidents in schools. Despite efforts from activist organizations like Students Deserve to divest funds from the school police department and reallocate them to alternative support services, the school board has not indicated whether police officers will be reinstated in schools as part of the new safety plan. The ongoing debate between parents and activists over the presence of police in schools remains unresolved, leaving the safety and well-being of students in Los Angeles schools in question.

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