Dear Mr. Eric Mann,
First, I want to thank you for your dialogue with me, other Board Members and with Chief Zipperman over the past few weeks.
Yesterday you received a detailed letter together with an inventory and timeline from Chief Zipperman. I very much appreciate your response. I am grateful for the Chief’s leadership and for his willingness to meet the requests presented by the campaign. I do believe the detail and the carefully compiled data shows without any question, LAUSD’s participation in the 1033 program has ended fully and completely. I also want to assure you that as long as I am a Board Member, LAUSD will never participate in any program like this again.
Our recent meeting and dialogue has led me to review my actions as Board President during this difficult period. Upon reflection, I failed to understand the amount of pain and frustration our participation in the 1033 program could cause in the community and especially with our partners from the Dignity in Schools Campaign and the fight for the Soul of the Cities. The campaigns have been such important allies in our effort to transform school climate throughout LAUSD. I regret that I did not listen carefully enough to our student activists or to activists who have been struggling against systemic racism in many forms for years.
I now understand that especially in the context of the many conflicts between law enforcement and communities of color across the nation, our participation in this program may have created perceptions about the role of our district and our school police that my silence exacerbated. Although the weapons obtained through the program were never intended for deployment or any use other than training, I now understand that even the possession of such weapons in the context of this moment damaged trust that we now must all work to rebuild. Please accept my apology for any and all of my actions that contributed to feelings of betrayal and injury and interrupted our important collaborative efforts for equity and justice in all aspects of public education.
I know that you understand that I continue to support Chief Zipperman and the men and women of our Los Angeles School Police. I also believe that together we can move forward with nation leading work on transforming school climate in ways that will enhance the rights and dignity of every student in every school. By re-establishing a strong working relationship, we can recapture the momentum that led to key changes that school districts across the nation are beginning to replicate.
Thank you again for our continued dialogue. I appreciate the opportunity to engage with the students who will be most affected by our policies and decisions. It is my hope and belief that we can move forward from this difficult moment. Thank you for your leadership in the struggle for civil rights, human rights and labor rights throughout my lifetime.
President, Board of Education
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