POLICE FREE SCHOOLS TOOLKIT
For our Black and Brown families leading the struggle to abolish police from schools.
This toolkit was co-created by Dignity in Schools-California and Organizing Roots.
About Organizing Roots
Organizing Roots embeds with grassroots racial justice organizing and movement building projects to develop lifelong transformative organizers among communities and peoples seeking self-determination and liberation. In our work with partners we focus on long-term campaign accompaniment, new project incubation, and on codification to preserve and distribute practices, insights and achievements. We are building an institution to carry on the historical and international traditions of radical organizing and movement building that weave us together.
Why this toolkit? For our Black and Brown families leading the struggle in schools
In June 2020 after nearly a decade of work, BOP (Black Organizing Project) won the country’s first dismantling of an internal school police department–the Oakland Schools Police Department–through the “George Floyd Resolution.” Up and down the state of California–from Stockton to LA, from Moreno Valley to Salinas–the Black and Brown youth, parents and communities of Dignity In Schools Campaign California (DSCCA) have been in solidarity with BOP, pushing their own school districts to similar votes after years of struggle. This toolkit is to support our member organizations first and foremost.
We have also had many, many questions and requests for support and resources from communities all over the country who are trying to eliminate police from their schools. We hope this toolkit will help you.
If you are organizing for racial justice in your community and want to engage with us, please contact us through our website: www.dignityinschools-ca.org
Key principles in using this toolkit
Grounded in transformative grassroots organizing and movement building. Every piece of this toolkit is grounded in grassroots organizing, movement building and the constant back and forth between tactics and strategy as we try to win structural reforms that build toward a larger radical vision for the transformation of society. We center intergenerational organizing and black leadership (against systemic anti-blackness) and unite urban with rural and suburban organizing in Black and Brown communities.
History behind this work. BOP’s victory in Oakland did not come from thin air. Police-free schools is a visionary banner that has been carried by the parents and youth of the Black Organizing Project (BOP) for almost a decade. It is also the proud flag of our statewide movement, Dignity In Schools Campaign California (DSCCA). We have been shoulder-to-shoulder with BOP, taking on school policing and the criminalization of our children in our schools in every corner of the state long before national attention turned our way.
Our endgame is about liberatory education and abolition–not “school police.” Eliminating police from schools–no less than transforming punitive school discipline from schools–is not why we started this fight. It is an important stepping stone toward transforming the underlying structures and ideologies of racialized policing and mass incarceration that have become dominant in our society as a whole.
Pitfalls of piecemealing
Since we have had to pull these tools out of their organizing process here, there will be a tendency to use these tools in a piecemeal way, or to assume they can be used as a playbook for passing a policy through advocacy divorced from organizing. This is a pitfall that commonly results in harm to our most impacted communities.