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June 14, 2021

Daily News Lesson: High school students in L.A. help divert millions of law enforcement funding

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To read the transcript of the video, click here.

Summary: The role of police officers in schools has come under increasing scrutiny, as communities across the U.S. respond to calls for racial justice and re-evaluate student safety. In Los Angeles, student activists played a major role in getting the school district to move away from funding police in schools. Julia Escobar, of the NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs youth journalism program, has the story.

Discussion questions: 

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is leading the charge to defund police in L.A. schools?
  • Why do they want to remove police from schools?
  • What are the consequences of the Los Angeles Unified School Board diverting the $25 million?
  • When did they decide to divert the money?
  • Where is the diverted money being used now?
  • How does Officer Rudy Perez view the role of police in schools?

Focus questions:

  1. Officer Rudy Perez and the two student activists featured, Kahlila and Mani, have opposing views on the roles of police officers in schools. What are their separate views? Can you think of any ways a school board could solve this problem that takes into account all of their perspectives?
  2. Does your school have a resource officer? Reflect on their role in your community; what are some of the ways a resource officer can aid or harm a community?

Media literacy:

  1. What strategies did Student Reporting Labs’ Julia Escobar use to present varied opinions?
  2. Why do you think some news outlets use the term ‘School Resource Officer’ (SRO) when talking about law enforcement who work in schools and others use the term police officer or cop? Why do you think the term ‘SRO’ came about to describe police who are stationed in schools?

Dig deeper: 

  • To learn more about earlier pushes to defund police in schools, read this article.
  • For more on what “defund the police” means and the movement behind it check out this Daily News Lesson.

This Daily News Lesson was written by EXTRA intern Cecilia Curran and EXTRA’s Victoria Pasquantonio. Curran is a sophomore at Amherst College.


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