OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A group of protesters made their voices heard at Osceola County’s School Board meeting Tuesday evening.
They were there in support of a Liberty High School student who was seen on video being slammed to the ground by a School Resource Officer.
Tuesday’s meeting was the board’s first since the incident, and during the public comment portion, the community shared their horror at what they saw in the video.
“To see something like this in my community makes me sick,” one parent said. “We are mortified...mortified.”
In all, more than 20 students and parents stood up, all asking for change.
“School resource officers have had a history of this abuse of power and enforcing discriminatory practices on campus.”
A 2019 study from the American Civil Liberties Union found that students of color and students with disabilities are three times more likely to be arrested by a school resource officer than their counterparts.
“These types of things occur to our youth across the country more often, mostly against black and brown youth. And I want to say that it’s time for change. This stuff has got to stop.”
Some commenters even called for the school district to remove SROs from campuses altogether.
“Removing SROs from schools is a necessary step toward changing discriminatory policies and more equitable student schooling.”
Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez has left it up to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the use of force, but the parents at Tuesday’s meeting say they’ve seen enough.
“By allowing officers to work within our schools without clear and concise guidelines, outlining their responsibilities and identifying how those duties should be carried out...It puts all students at risk of physical harm just as Taylor Bracey.”
Bracy’s family is now working with local attorney Natalie Jackson, and nationally-renowned civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump.
They’re calling for a community task force to lead the investigation.
The school board says it’s going to look into having a policy in place for school resource officers on campus.
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