L.A. Teachers Union Calls to Defund Police, Cap Charter Schools as Part of COVID Reopening Plan

The second-largest teachers union in the U.S. called to defund the police and place a moratorium on charter schools in a “research paper” recommending that Los Angeles city schools stay closed at the beginning of the fall semester.

United Teachers Los Angeles released its study on school reopenings on July 9, recommending that schools only open once a set of safety precautions and funding conditions are met. On Monday, the Los Angeles and San Diego school districts announced they would not reopen for the near future.

“This is a painful decision, but we have to keep health and safety first,” L.A. schools superintendent Austin Beutner told the local Fox affiliate on Wednesday. “There’s no substitute for being in school, we understand that. But we can only be in school when all at the school are safe.”

“As it stands, the only people guaranteed to benefit from the premature physical reopening of schools amidst a rapidly accelerating pandemic are billionaires and the politicians they’ve purchased,” the UTLA study concludes.

“We must shift the astronomical amount of money devoted to policing, to education and other essential needs such as housing and public health,” the study reads. The study also supported a moratorium on charter schools, saying they “drain resources from district schools” and received “federal small business bailout loans even though state funding did not decline this school year.”

The Los Angeles school board voted on Wednesday to cut $25 million from the budget for school police. Todd Chamberlain, the school district police chief, resigned the next day, writing in his resignation letter, “I cannot support modifications to my position, the organization and most importantly, the community (students, staff and families) that I believe will be detrimental and potentially life-threatening.”

President Trump slammed the closure of Los Angeles and San Diego schools, threatening to withhold federal funding from the districts. Meanwhile, the school board of Orange County, which neighbors Los Angeles, voted to allow schools to reopen even without social distancing or mask requirements in place. However, all the school districts in Orange County that have published reopening plans online have implemented mask and social distancing requirements.

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