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Puente Arizona: Phoenix high schools don’t need cops on campus

Puente Arizona (Facebook photo)

PHOENIX — The group Puente Arizona is trying to get cops off of Phoenix campuses.

“We are asking Phoenix Union High School District to end the school-to-prison pipeline and the school-to-deportation pipeline,” said Leidy Robledo Youth Organizer with Puente. “By removing police from school[s].”

Puente encouraged students to ‘speak out’ during a launch of the #CopsOuttaCampus campaign on Thursday at Phoenix Union High School.

“Interaction with law enforcement can put a student at risk of getting a ICE hold or being sent to ICE,” she said. “If the police suspects that they’re undocumented … that’s state law.”

As a result of the changing political climate, Robledo said they have to limit the contact between law enforcement and students, she said, because now campus officers are using this as a pretext to check the students’ status.

“School resource officers don’t necessarily mean safer campuses for the students,” she said.

The district is spending a large amount of the state’s controversially limited education resources to have these officers, she said.

And Robledo claims only a very small number of student’s law enforcement interactions involve weapons.

“There are better ways and better services that students can be using to address some of the problems that we’re seeing in school,” she said. “That doesn’t necessarily require a police officer.”

There are bigger problems like shortage of teachers and books in the classroom, where those funds could be used.

Campuses should be a safe place for kids to learn, Robledo said.