Smile Politely

Fighting for racial justice in schools

This article was collectively written by members of CU-SURJ

In December of 2019, the Urbana School Board of Education (BOE) signed an intergovernmental agreement to approve funding of two full time armed police officers in schools at a yearly cost to the school district of $321,300 without evidence of return on any value in terms of student engagement or deepened learning. The purpose of these officers is not grounded in research and their presence in schools contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline. 

For many, school is the only place to access mental health counselling and support. However, students have indicated that they are intimidated by police and are less likely to try and take part in dialogue under police supervision.  

While our community and the country is pushing toward racial equity, the funding of armed police with education dollars is a step in the wrong direction. Eliminating the contract with Urbana Police Department will allow for resources to be reallocated to the supports that students truly need such as truancy supports, trauma-informed educators, restorative justice approaches, counsellors and hiring and retaining Black educators.

This week the ACLU and NAACP have joined the C-U community efforts and formally requested the Urbana BOE the removal of armed police from Urbana Schools. We invite you to show up this week by speaking up to the Urbana school board about your concerns as well. And, if you are interested in joining other youth, parents, and community members in removing SROs from Urbana, Champaign, or surrounding area schools, please contact [email protected].

Calls to Action

See more calls to action here.

Show Up This Week

Attend the Urbana Board of Education Meeting 

Tuesday, September 1st, 7 p.m.

Racial Justice Check In Circle

Thursday, September 3rd,  4:30-5:30 p.m. 

Registration link  

#EndWhiteSilence: Remove SRO’s From Schools

Thursday, September 3rd, 6-7pm

See more events on the Racial Justice Calendar.


Local Perspectives

Cultural Work


 “Survival the Police” by Christopher Michael  

“I just wanna live” by Keedron Bryant
Top photo from Wikipedia Commons.

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