Demonstration August 5th to protest the BOE’s inaction around policing in schools
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CPDoutofCCS (Columbus Police Department out of Columbus City Schools) and its supporters are gathering once again as students demand the end to policing in their schools in the wake of continual inaction by the Board. This community organization is focused on ending the school to prison pipeline in the district and began with a letter signed by over 3,500 concerned community members. Since this letter’s publication they have also run both digital and in-person campaigns to pressure the Board to go beyond empty statements and implement real tangible steps towards change. A demonstration is scheduled for Wednesday, August 5th to protest the Board’s failure to adequately address the issue.

“I can remember when I was a 7th grade student, sitting in court and being told I was a criminal for missing class due to a lack of transportation and stable housing, which I now understand is an everyday aspect of the school to prison pipeline” says Dexter Komakaru, alumni of Northland HS, “I didn't understand why the district would punish me for a lack of resources instead of providing support”. 

This protest builds upon the movement CPDoutofCCS began a month ago by protesting at Board President Adair’s house since the demands they presented then have yet to be met. Though the board did allow the contract with the CPD to expire, as opposed to the automatic renewal that has routinely occurred in the past, this decision may not be permanent. The board promised the formation of a safety and security taskforce which was continually pushed back before finally being announced a day prior to the protest and has been critiqued for its lack of transparency as well as being a tactic to delay change. 

The group specifically chose Board Member Ragland's house as he harshly criticized students who shared their experiences of being criminalized and traumatized by SROs (officers in schools) in a board meeting on June 16th. More recently, he sat on a panel with Education Secretary Betsy Devos, who has an extensive record of undermining public education. He received immediate pushback for this from community members and the teacher’s union that is now considering revoking his endorsement. 

“It's frustrating to see our elected officials refuse to listen to student voices unless we show up to their house.” says Kanyinsola Oye, a Columbus Alternative High School (CAHS) graduate. “We asked for the immediate implementation of restorative justice and the Board was silent. We asked for transparency about the task force and the Board was silent. We asked for the Board to utilize their resources and reach out to all 50,000+ CCS families about the taskforce and the Board was silent.”

“It should not take students protesting monthly for the Board to do their job as our elected officials, we are asking them to keep students safe, why is that too much to ask?” says Monica Alonso, CAHS graduate.