FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2020
For media inquiries:
Communications Advocate, SCSJ
919-323-3380 ext. 128 (office)
(919) 614-3952 (cell)
Durham, N.C.— Jasmin Loraine Benas, Srivani Edupuganti, Teya Franks, and Reagan Razon of Enloe High School, in partnership with Education Justice Alliance (EJA) and Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), sent a demand letter to the Wake County Board of Education urging the immediate end of all school policing contracts with local law enforcement agencies and greater investments in alternatives to school policing. This termination demand is in response to both Raleigh Police Department’s violent use of force against peaceful protesters following the death of George Floyd and Wake County Public School System’s school policing practices that disproportionately harm Black and Brown students.
In a letter sent to Wake County Board of Education Chair Keith Sutton, SCSJ and their partners ask for the removal of more than 70 school resource officers in the Wake County Public Schools System (WCPSS). The letter cites that school policing plays a role in Black students receiving 73% of school-related delinquency complaints during the 2018-2019 school year despite only representing 22% of the student population.
Enloe High School students Benas, Edupuganti, Franks, and Razon created a petition demanding the removal of all Wake County school resource officers that has received almost 2,500 signatures to date. These high school students believe the Raleigh Police Department should not be allowed to bring their abusive practices from the streets into the classroom.
The demand letter references the Minneapolis Board of Education’s landmark decision to have police-free schools as an example Wake County should follow. The Enloe High School students, along with SCSJ and EJA, urge the Wake County Board of Education to redirect funds currently spent on policing students to preventative programs and alternatives to criminalization. These investments include: fully staffed, school-wide restorative justice initiatives; community peacebuilders; social workers; physical and mental healthcare professionals; and other resources to support families and community members.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, founded in 2007, partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing and communications. Learn more at southerncoalition.org and follow our work on Twitter and Facebook.
The Education Justice Alliance (EJA) is a group of concerned individuals in Wake County working for a reduction in the number of public school students pushed off the academic track through unfair suspensions, harsh discipline policies, academic failure and school policing. For more information, visit their website at eja-nc.com and their Facebook page.