By Leonardo Cervantes
Reclaim Our Schools LA, is a Los Angeles movement of parents, educators, students, and community members working to improve access and advance opportunities in public education for all students. So that students thrive in the classroom, in their communities, and beyond.
The organization has a clear vision on how to better schools. They want to have better food at schools, to hire more psychologists and to minimize class sizes across all grade levels.
One of the initiatives the organization has taken is organizing against fully defunding the LA school police.
In Los Angeles Unified School District, Black youth make up 8% of the student population, but make up 25% of school-based arrests, citations and diversions. 73% of Black and Latino students believe that school police officers escalate situations.
67% of Black and Latin students describe school police officers as overly aggressive.
Students feel that some school officers walk around school looking to intimidate students. They’re like school bullies.
“We want to defund school police and reinvest more money to support black students by creating BSAP, the Black student achievement plan,” Kyla Payne, a speaker at the meeting said.
The BSAP provides support in curriculum and instruction, community partnerships and personal support.
Elosia Galindo, a mother of a 5th grader spoke about the difficulties of having large classes and how it not only affected her child but the rest of the students as well as the teacher.
Large classes make learning difficult as it becomes increasingly harder for teachers to focus on one or a few students that are struggling.
“That isn’t fair to the teachers or the students to be dealing with that many kids at once,” Galindo said.
LAUSD is the second-largest school district in the nation.
“We would tell the principal we want to raise funds so we can have a science lab and they would tell us no because of district rules.
They wouldn’t let us fund resources and they wouldn’t provide the resources. Instead they were cutting resources more and more each day,” Galindo said.
The rise of mental health awareness over the last few years has been great, but some schools still do not offer the proper support to help students deal with personal issues they might be going through.
ROSLA wants more psychologists hired to help students as well as more counselors, PSA (Pupil Services and Attendance), and PSW (Psychiatric Social Work Services).
Another initiative they want is to increase healthy food options for students and families that address food insecurity, nutrition, culture and sustainable food sources.
Healthier food that includes fruits and vegetables for students.
They also support housing initiatives like converting vacant LAUSD property into housing for low-income families. Provide targeted academic support for unhoused students, foster care students, working students and parenting students.
ROSLA wants to reduce caseloads for special ED teachers, health and human services staff and other student support staff.
More teachers and staff should be hired in order to better support students and so teachers or staff aren’t overloaded.
“We have to lift up all of the issues and common concerns that educators, students, parents and community members are having so that we can come together. We have to fight for these demands every single step of the way. We do that by uniting together. Start building the proposals that are going to take us to the future,” Cecily Myart-Cruz, the United Teachers Los Angeles President said.