Last night at Red Emma’s, the Baltimore Action Legal Team hosted a panel on reducing the police presence in schools. The event, part of BALT’s Lawyer Up series, featured Baltimore BLOC organizer Tre Murphy, Asst. Public Defender with the Juvenile Division of the Office of the Public Defender Jenny Egan, Director of OSI-Baltimore’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice Program Tara Huffman, and Baltimore Algebra Project member and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute junior Katie Sarai Arevalo. BALT’s Iman Freeman moderated
It was a great discussion that went into the origins of the school-to-prison pipeline, the criminalization of students, and how to organize to around the issue of school policing. The consensus seemed be that police do not belong in schools and that alternative tools must be established to deal with behavior problems. One questioner suggested improving resources available to students and staff training – what we call “school climate” – would prevent many of the behavior issues that exist.
In November, OSI-Baltimore announced a $50,000 grant to support BALT’s community education, legal observation and representation, and bail support services to advance police reform and accountability in Baltimore.