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Task Force Begins Review of School Police

CONTACT:                                                                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Shannon Haber, 213-393-1289                                  June 22, 2020

 

Task Force Begins Review of School Police
 

Nine-member Panel to Deliver Initial Recommendations and Progress Report
To Board of Education in August and Final Recommendations by Year End

LOS ANGELES – June 22, 2020 – The group tasked by Superintendent Austin Beutner  with assessing the training, practices, policies and budget of the Los Angeles School Police has started work examining the department’s roles and responsibilities, comparing community experiences at other large public-school districts and collecting perspectives from Los Angeles Unified’s key stakeholders, including students, staff, families and community members.

The nine-member Task Force is an impressive roster of community leaders that includes educators, former public defenders and prosecutors, and public policy experts.

“I am grateful these distinguished community leaders and subject experts have agreed to serve on the Task Force,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “Together, we will look at what is needed to keep schools safe as well as what students need to feel free from stigma and to feel they are a respected part of their school community. We will ask hard and uncomfortable questions and come up with concrete recommendations. The goal is not to make a political statement, it’s to do the best we can for students.”

The Task Force is meeting twice a week while staff is getting the research and analysis done. The Task Force will deliver a progress report and initial recommendations to the Board of Education in August. Central to the Task Force’s work will be listening to the many voices in our school communities to better understand their lived experiences in schools. The Task Force expects to complete its work and provide final recommendations and any budget implications by the end of the year, before the budget for Los Angeles Unified is finalized.

In addition to Superintendent Beutner, the Task Force members are: 

  • Isaac Bryan, Director of Public Policy at the UCLA Bunche Center and a founding member of UCLA Big Data for Justice Institute. He has worked on projects with the U.S. Department of Justice, American Civil Liberties Union and Children’s Defense Fund. He is also the Policy Director for the Million Dollar Hoods project and the Policy Advisor to the UCLA Ralph Bunche Center.
  • Debra Bryant, Administrator of Operations for Los Angeles Unified’s Local District Northwest and a 21-year veteran of the District, began her career as a science teacher and spent the next 16 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal before becoming an administrator. 
  • Yasmin Cader, a former public defender who represented juveniles and adults facing the most serious felony charges, is a founding partner with Cader Adams LLP. She was also a Department of Justice Civil Rights Division attorney litigating sexual and racial harassment and discrimination. She is a member of the faculty at Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop and the National Criminal Defense College. Yasmin also serves on the Yale Law School Executive Committee and the board of a national non-profit dedicated to effective messaging for social justice issues.
  • Martin Estrada is a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP and specializes in complex litigation and internal investigations. Martin was a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. His public-interest work includes the areas of immigration, education, and indigent services. He serves on numerous boards, including the Alliance for Children’s Rights.
  • Sergio Franco is the Administrator of Operations in Los Angeles Unified’s Local District East concentrating on the Boyle Heights Community of Schools. He has served Los Angeles Unified schools and families for 33 years as a teacher assistant, elementary teacher, bilingual coordinator, assistant principal and principal.
  • Peter Hastings, Administrator of Operations for Los Angeles Unified’s Local District South, is a career educator who has served at-risk students in communities in West and South Los Angeles for more than 20 years. During his career, he has served as a classroom teacher, dean of sudents, assistant principal and principal.
  • Roberto Antonio Martinez, the Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified’s Local District Central, began his career as an elementary and middle-school teacher and went on to become a high school principal.
  • Lawrence Middleton, a civil rights attorney, is a former U.S. Air Force JAG and federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District, where he served as Chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section. He was one of four attorneys who prosecuted the federal trial of four LAPD officers charged with violating the constitutional rights of Rodney King, for which he received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award. As part of the Department of Justice’s National Church Arson Task Force, he also tried and convicted individuals charged with burning an African-American Church in Macon, Ga. 

“I’m grateful to Superintendent Beutner for convening this task force,” said Task Force member Estrada. “At this moment in our country, there is no issue of greater significance. Therefore, it is critical to have a diversity of views, both within the Los Angeles Unified community and outside of it, to evaluate the role of the Los Angeles School Police. Superintendent Beutner has assembled an impressive array of accomplished leaders for this Task Force, and I am humbled and honored to be part of this important project.”

"Our public schools seek to provide quality education in a nurturing environment in which all students are respected, valued, cherished, and safe,” said Task Force member Cader. “Stakeholders here in Los Angeles have raised concerns that the existence and practices of the Los Angeles School Police Department undercut this mission. I joined this Task Force to help examine the role of the police in Los Angeles Unified schools. I am committed to ensuring that we follow data and research in recommending meaningful and robust solutions to provide our children with a high-quality education in the nurturing and supportive environment they deserve."

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