PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS NO LONGER EMPLOY POLICE

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Nico Emmanuel-Henderson

media@raisingjustice.org

(503) 662-8800

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After years of the community demanding the police out of our schools, it finally happened in Portland.

JUNE 5, 2020

Today marked the end of a long-held discussion in Portland; whether or not Portland Public Schools should house and spend considerable money to support School Resource Officers from the Portland Police Bureau. The PPS superintendent provided a swift answer today by announcing the school system was divesting completely from the SRO program. Shortly after, PPB released a statement of their own, announcing that all current operations and personnel from the Youth Services Division would be reassigned to the Operations Division. 

Raising Justice has previously worked with SROs and YSD to try and improve programming in schools, but we acknowledge the lackluster faith in this program and are in full support of this decision. We stand firmly behind the superintendent’s plan to reallocate city resources for school support services such as social workers, counselors and programming to address school issues in a more restorative manner. Until PPB is able to reassure the public that armed officers in school is not only safe but actually a supportive environment for students, Raising Justice agrees that money should be spent on creating alternative school responses. 

As we write this, our organization is working to ensure alternatives to the type of punitive policing that has driven the community away from SROs. In coordination with a host of other community partners, we are currently working to pass ground-setting local legislation that would mandate restorative practices be used for all youth-involved situations. This proposal, to be submitted to the Mayor and Chief’s offices in the coming week, would require deeper training on how to handle situations through a restorative lens and provide a platform for youth to not only request non-criminal support in resolving situations but also more easily report issues with police officers or police officials. This is a time for great reform and we are in the midst of that shift.   
  
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Photos by Benjamin Olshin, unless otherwise attributed.