Oscar Lopez Leads Efforts Ending School Police in Oakland

Oscar Lopez (’13), Interim Director, Education Advocacy Clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center, was quoted in a Berkeley Law article discussing his work in eliminating school police in Oakland and how advocacy through movement lawyering creates partnerships with community members to meet their needs (“School’s East Bay Community Law Center Helps Advocate for Cutting Ties with Oakland School Police,” Mar. 25). “We look at all the tools available and make sure the voices of the people who are directly impacted are the ones being heard. An emphasis on litigation creates the impression that lawyers are the heroes of social justice without acknowledging all the necessary grassroots organizing work in the background. Our role is to train law students to support all the great racial justice work going on everywhere.” With the Oakland school board voting to disband its $6 million school police force last June, the district considers plans to redirect funding towards school-based case managers and social workers and further staff training on de-escalation, crisis intervention and anti-racism. Oscar noted, “They are really digging into that question. What are teachers afraid of? What alternatives can they use? Who do you call when there are physical altercations?”