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Among the demands that activists like Black Lives Matter DC have: police-free schools.
But DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee doesn’t appear to agree—in fact, he defended the use of police in schools during Thursday’s budget oversight hearing, the Post’s Perry Stein reports.
Per Stein, the city’s school system has a $23 million annual contract with the Metropolitan Police Department, which pays for 98 school resource officers. This contract also covers more than 300 subcontracted security guards, metal detectors, and 17 armed officers who can make arrests.
“We have worked really hard to ensure our school resource officers and security guards reflect our values for how we support students in our schools,” Ferebee said. “When I talk to students, many of the trusted adults they go to are some of our security guards or school resource officers.”
Ferebee received pushback from At-Large Councilmember David Grosso, who co-chairs the education committee. Grosso doesn’t believe MPD belongs in schools—“period”—while Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, the other co-chair, wants to examine the data before amending the contract.
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen noted the police-school budget increased by nearly 60 percent since 2015. Ferebee, who expressed skepticism over Allen’s figure, cited the cost of inflation relating to personnel and the modernization of schools (new space needs to be supervised) as reasons why this budget increased over the years. Here is a telling exchange between the two:
“Eastern High School for the next calendar year—the next school year—has 8 contract security guards and 5 social workers. Is that the right balance?” asked Allen.
“I’m not sure I’m tracking with your line of questioning in the relationship between social workers and security guards,” replied Ferebee.
“Is a contracted security guard the only way that we help create a safe learning environment?” Allen said, rephrasing the question.
“No, safety is the responsibility of the entire school community.” said Ferebee.
Groups like Children’s Law Center and Black Swan Academy would rather divert dollars spent on police to counselors. “I’ve noticed school police counts go up and up and up each year. It is just not a good experience to know that a child is being put in handcuffs in a place where they are supposed to be safe. We need to address the root of the problem like lack of mental health care resources for students who experience trauma,” said a Ward 7 graduating senior who is a part of Black Swan Academy. —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? email@example.com)
There is no mayoral press conference today.
D.C. reported four additional deaths relating to COVID-19 and 65 positive cases, bringing the total numbers to 506 and 9,654, respectively. DC Health says we have only met two Phase 2 metrics. D.C.’s hospital bed capacity is above 80 percent for the first time in over two months. However, beds used by COVID-19 patients have been decreasing. [EOM]
Metro finally added buses, after ridership had been above what’s recommended for social distance for months. [WAMU]
Metro also pledges to provide an “action plan” in July, “if not sooner,” that addresses racism and bias amongst transit police. [Post]
D.C.’s nurses protest against racist policing. [Twitter]
The GW Hatchet pledges to donate 20 percent of its donations now until the start of the fall semester to Street Sense, after acknowledging the majority of staff is white. [Hatchet]
LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
Watch Mayor Muriel Bowser on theLate Late Show with James Corden. [YouTube]
Evans still owes $55,000 in ethics fines. [WCP]
Patrick Kennedy is stepping down as chair of ANC 2A. He is undecided as to whether he’ll run for re-election on the commission after an unsuccessful Ward 2 Council campaign. [Twitter]
ICYMI: How did Brooke Pinto win the Ward 2 seat in a field of experienced candidates? [WCP]
YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? email@example.com)
Hot N Juicy Crawfish in Falls Church is facing an eviction threat despite the pandemic. [WCP]
Anju teams up with an Annandale bakery to bring D.C. Korean pastries on Sundays. [WCP]
Mercy Me opens in Foggy Bottom. [Washingtonian]
Starbucks told its employees they couldn’t wear Black Lives Matter apparel or accessories. [Eater]
ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
Check out some of the Black Lives Matter designs from local artists that The Omi Collective compiled. [WCP]
Secretary of the Smithsonian and National Museum of African American History and Culture founding director Lonnie Bunch speaks about the past, present, and future of racism in America. [Kojo Nnamdi Show]
What is the post-coronavirus shutdown future of local theater? [DCist]
Ibram X. Kendi, bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist, talks about the protests against anti-black racism and police brutality. [Washingtonian]
SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? email@example.com)
The Nats selected more pitchers on Day 2 of the MLB Draft. [Federal Baseball]
Basketball legend and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be on Instagram Live today at 2 p.m. with Washington Post reporter Geoff Edgers. [Instagram]
Doug Williams, the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, is getting a biopic. [Deadline]
Bradley Beal’s name keeps coming up in NBA trade rumors. [Bullets Forever]
District Sports and November Project DC, two local non-profits, are hosting a personal fitness challenge from June 15 to 21 to benefit local businesses. [Twitter]
ICYMI: Get to know Washington Spirit rookie Kaiya McCullough, a longtime activist for social and racial justice. [WCP]
We’re bringing you the best things to watch, read, make, and do from the comfort of your home while social distancing.
The National Museum of the American Indian highlights deeply reported, stirring photojournalism in Developing Stories: Native Photographers in the Field.