LMPV Testimony | Colorado School Resource Officer Grant Program (SB22-101)
Committee: State, Veterans, & Military Affairs
Sponsors: Senator Smallwood
Bill number: SB22-101
Thank you Madame Chair. My name is Talaya Banks, and I’m a Let My People Vote Coordinator for Soul 2 Soul Sisters where we organize for Black Women’s healing, joy, and liberation here in Denver. I’m here to testify on behalf of our Let My People Vote program to urge you to oppose Senate Bill 101 and protect Black students in their schools.
Every student deserves to learn in an environment that is safe and fully supports their intellectual, social, and emotional development. However, Black students are at a higher risk of being traumatized in schools due to over-criminalization, over-surveillance, and being disproportionately perceived as being dangerous threats by the police officers in these schools. While the presence of police officers is intended to make our schools safer, Black students are oftentimes handcuffed, tasered, pepper sprayed, and injured at higher rates than other students, often for engaging in normal youth behavior. Consequently, rather than cultivating a safe educational environment that all students deserve, this use of force from police heavily contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline for Black students. And this targeted aggression from police towards Black students is a direct result of this country’s legacy of slavery, slave catchers, and constant attempts to prevent Black people from building safe communities for us to exercise our autonomy and agency.
For years, our communities have been demanding our state take a hard look at the ways policing has been used to oppress Black communities, and SB101 would only make it more likely for Black students and other students of color to be harmed in school. Colorado must lead the way in reimagining school safety by divesting funds currently spent on law enforcement and investing in restorative practices for our students instead. Our communities have made it clear that we can find other ways to keep people safe without giving more money to law enforcement officers. We urge you to vote no on SB101. Thank you for your time.