We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our School Board colleague, Professor Ayesha Bell Hardaway and express our outrage that she has been forced out of her role as Deputy Monitor of the Cleveland Police Monitoring Team, the group in charge of overseeing the implementation of the 2015 Cleveland Police Consent Decree. We know her to be thoughtful, insightful, and fair.
Professor Bell Hardaway is right on the mark in expressing concern that police across the nation often do not cooperate with investigations of misconduct by their colleagues, and that unwarranted violence has too often been visited upon members of the public by police, most especially upon people of color. Are these facts really in doubt? Unjustified police killings of unarmed civilians will not stop if the response is merely to root out “a few bad apples.” The point of introducing the powerful explanatory concept of systemic racism is that it’s the tree, not just the apples that are at fault. The Consent Decree itself mentions systemic racism.
Yet again, the voice of a Black woman has been silenced while the shrill claims of those who oppose Police reform are given enormous space to reverberate. Unwarranted Police violence is a systemic problem and requires systemic reform.
To those who might argue that local school board members should not comment upon such matters, we say we have an obligation to the families whose students attend our schools to speak loudly and often on important matters that too often and too violently impact the lives of our young people.
We join the Cleveland NAACP, The Norman S. Minor Bar Association, CWRU, and many others in the community in calling for this egregious misstep to be rectified immediately!
The Shaker Heights Board of Education