State Department of Education to study school safety data, examine ethnic studies options

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond on Wednesday outlined two upcoming efforts that the California Department of Education will lead as schools tackle questions about educational equity, racial injustice and the presence of law enforcement on school campuses.

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond

During a virtual media briefing, Thurmond announced that he will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 30 that will examine the data and research that exists regarding the impacts of police programs on school campuses. The public forum, which will be streamed live on Facebook, will be a discussion between researchers, police organizations, advocacy groups and legislators.

“Like our communities, our schools are also reckoning with the best ways to navigate police reform and an honest accounting with our nation’s complex history,” Thurmond said.

The state superintendent emphasized the CDE is working to re-imagine student support and discipline. Some options include reducing police presence on campus and adding more mental health counseling services.

Additionally, Thurmond provided an update on the CDE’s plans to lead a series of conversations among educators, students, families and educational partners about race, racism, implicit bias and injustice. The ethnic studies webinars will feature lessons in the areas of Africana studies, Asian American studies, Chicano Latino studies and Native American studies.

Additional details on these webinars will be provided from the CDE later this week.