After a months-long push to defund the police in California’s largest public school system, trustees of the Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday approved a plan to cut 133 police positions, ban the use of pepper spray on students and divert $25 million to programs supporting students of color, reports the New York Times. Last summer, the school board had already started by slashing the district’s 400-member police force by 35 percent, prompting the resignation of 20 officers and the chief, who objected to eliminating the jobs of scores of officers.
The new plan eliminates 70 sworn officers, who have arrest powers; 62 non-sworn officers; and one support staff member, leaving 211 officers on the force for a district of roughly 650,000 students. Officers at secondary schools in Los Angeles will be replaced with “climate coaches” from the community who will mentor students, help resolve conflicts and address implicit bias. The $25 million in cuts will also help fund a Black student achievement plan, which will include expanded counseling, teacher development, curriculum changes and other programs to support inclusion. Campus police officers will still monitor schools and be available for emergencies.