Black Parkland Students Air Concerns About Campus Police

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Above Photo: Black students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School call a press conference. (Screenshot: ABC Local 10 News)

A group of black students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., held a press conference Wednesday to call attention to their unique safety concerns. About 11 percent of the school’s students are black, but they have not been as present as their white classmates in national news coverage of the shooting and the wave of activism it inspired.

The Root reports:

At a press conference they organized, black students told reporters that they felt left out of the conversations on gun violence that have followed in the wake of the February shooting. And some safety measures that have been put in place at Stoneman Douglas High—namely, an increased police presence on campus—have left them feeling in more danger. …

The students made clear that they didn’t want to detract from the work their white peers were doing, but wanted the conversation around gun violence to be more inclusive of concerns around police violence.

As Truthdig columnist Sonali Kolhatkar points out in her column this week, black Americans are eight times more likely to be killed by firearms than those who are white, and they are disproportionately affected by police violence. Kolhatkar also lauded the students who organized the March for Our Lives for their inclusive approach, saying that they “did a far better job of centering the voices of people of color than the mainstream media did.”

But the students at Wednesday’s press conference expressed concern that in the aftermath of the shooting, increasing police presence at their predominantly white school could lead to them being unfairly targeted. Seventeen-year-old Kai Koerber said that more law enforcement on campus could lead to him and other black students being treated like “potential criminals.”

“It’s bad enough we have to return with clear backpacks,” he said. “Should we also return with our hands up?”

WLRN reporter Nadege Green tweeted about the event, capturing footage of 17-year-old Tyah-Amoy Roberts, who reitereated that “black and brown men and women are disproportionately targeted and killed by law enforcement. These are not facts I can live with comfortably.”

The Rev. Rosalina Osgood, a member of the Broward County School Board, told The Miami Herald that she doesn’t want students of color “to be angry and feel that they’re being ignored.”

“I don’t think anybody’s intentionally excluding them, but nobody’s intentionally including them, either,” she said.

  • occupyRUScom

    I Spent a lot of Time Covering “MSD” High School.
    I Observed Mostly and Did Not engage in Conversation w/ the Kids nor their Parents.
    I Tweeted Al Sharpton Something and even Jessie Jackson (Reminding them How Louis Farakhan (NoI) came to OCCUPY (5th Anniversary 2016) and help Get GUNS OFF THE STREETS in all of U.S. Cities… Starting in 5 Boroughs of N.Y.C. then Chicago… Soo
    These Young People of Color Must SHUT DOWN the R.O.T.C. in Schools and Colleges..
    Reminder: America’s Black/Brown YOUTH Must always Remember that RUSSIANS NEVER ENSLAVED nor MURDERED THEM (only the Irish Anglo Saxons). Nor the NATIVES in USA. Note: After Russia SOLD ALASKA did the Slave Owners Do their Bidding therein… Dividing, Conquering them etc.. Note2: And Russians Never Brought the Irish Anglo Saxon Diseases from their Lands… thus Killing HOLOCAUSTING Natives by BIOCHEMICALS!