LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association (LAAPOA) President Marshall McClain responds to “Making Black Lives Matter in Schools,” an anti-police demonstration to be held on February 24, 2018 at Los Angeles Trade Tech. It is co-sponsored by United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), Black Lives Matter, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups.
United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the union that represents Los Angeles public school teachers, plans to co-sponsor an anti-police rally with Black Lives Matter and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in a demonstration called “Making Black Lives Matter in Schools” on February 24. It is part of a larger effort to completely remove police stationed throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the nation’s second-largest public education system.
As president of LAAPOA, I am troubled to see this kind of activity, which I feel is misinformed and does not advance the message that I think the initiators are seeking to convey. Law enforcement’s sole focus at these schools is to foster a safe learning environment, one that can be drastically impacted by gangs, violence and other threats. To stereotype the 500+ police officers who serve the LAUSD’s 640,000+ students as racist does not support the larger goal of educating a new generation to work to mend divisions and become less polarized. The Los Angeles School Police Department is in itself diverse and representative of many ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds. This anti-police demonstration and its undertones are even more troubling to LAAPOA because we are the nation’s largest majority-minority police force, and many of our members have children who are being taught by the very teachers who are expressing negative views about police officers.
I fully understand that the rally’s participants are proud of their minority backgrounds — we are, too — but to target and paint school officers, many of whom are minorities themselves, with a broad brush of racism, undermines the entire stated purpose of what the participants seek to advance.
Marshall McClain, President of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association
Note: The Los Angeles School Police Management Association (LASPMA) has also released a statement. Read their letter here.