The League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara appreciates the careful consideration, the patience to read and hear all the public comments, and the thoughtful and frank discussion of the issues around policing on school campuses, especially the Sheriff’s Student Resource Deputy at San Marcos High School. We thank the board of the Santa Barbara Unified School District for the thoughtful responses to the research and data presented in addition to the heartfelt and respectful stories of personal experiences.

We wholeheartedly support the board and thank board members for your decision to end the contract with the Sheriff’s Department at San Marcos High School.

As it was pointed out in public comment, the school district is facing two pandemics: that of COVID-19 and that of racism. The Board has responded to the first — the pandemic — to keep students as safe as possible, by following the data, the evidence and the research. This is despite persistent vocal opposition from some parents.

In this board meeting, the district also acted for student safety based on the data, the evidence and the research around policing in schools. If there is opposition, we hope the board and administration will continue to respond with patience and respect and still stand firm against systemic racism.

The board members’ words about equity for all students became an action to implement equity for all students this week. We stand with them.

The League of Women Voters supports the direction to further fund mental health resources that help students and their families address underlying issues in order to prevent further misbehavior, violence and conflicts.

We appreciate and support those board decisions on moving away from punitive management of misbehavior and conflicts and toward building paths to student-led and staff-led restorative justice solutions.

Vijaya Jammalamadaka is president of the League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara.


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