'Reimagining school safety' protest calls for SJUSD campuses to be police-free

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A protest brought parents, teachers and community activists together in San Jose. They urged San Jose Unified School Board members to make all of its campuses police-free, by re-imagining school safety.

The group gathered outside the San Jose School District headquarters on Thursday.

"Having a police presence on campus is dangerous for students it doesn't promote a safe learning environment," said activist Kenan Moos.

This equity coalition wants the district to end its contract with San Jose Police and replace it a plan which re-imagines school safety. The resolution is named after Derrick Sanderlin, who was injured by police during last summer's Black Lives Matter protests.

"They found my call to take police out of schools and implement restorative justice changes resonating," said Sanderlin.

Parent and Santa Clara County Public Defender Sajid Khan said for too long, schools have been a pipeline to the prison system.

"We have the opportunity to undo this by reallocating resources we spend on police in schools and put that into counseling," said Khan.

A car caravan protest circled the area, getting the attention of the board president, Brian Wheatley. He said the SJUSD Board voted to remove police from campuses this year, while students are doing remote learning. However, abolishing school recourse officers for good will need more input and discussion.

"I do understand some of the people that I represent think police officer equals safety," Wheatley said.

Several Bay Area school districts like San Francisco and Fremont have voted to reduce or eliminate police officers on campus.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.