Letter: Student and teachers fight back to end racist random searches 
Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 11:41PM
Challenge_DesafĂ­o

The school board of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) just voted to end the racist “random search” policy that has been dehumanizing our youth since 1993. For 26 years, working class students of color were pulled out of class every day and faced intrusive searches that subjected them to the culture of criminalization that capitalism creates. Basic items would be confiscated such as markers, highlighters, white out and/or body spray. However, the LAUSD did not end this policy because of the annoyances it brought upon these students every day. They ended it because of pressure from anti-racist students, teachers, parents, and community members who fought against it for many years.
To fight the bosses is educate our youth
As a teacher and member of Progressive Labor Party (PLP), this struggle for me started about five years ago when a resolution was put forward in the teachers’ union. This resolution proposed taking a stand against racist police brutality and it passed. As a result, the union’s Racial Justice Committee was formed. Instead of this newly formed committee being a group that simply talked about racism, there was a struggle to take direct action against racist policies in schools, such as the aforementioned random search policy. We joined together with other students and community members and developed a long-term plan that consisted of educating ourselves about these issues by developing student curriculum, organizing forums, passing out flyers, and pushing for the union to fight to end random searches. This committee took direct action in the form of rallies, marches, and packing school board meetings.
There was a lot of resistance from educators worried about “safety,”and many also had racist ideas about Black and Latin students. There were also some problems that developed within the committee itself. For example, after Trump was elected, there was a serious debate over whether or not the fight against racism is also a fight that benefits white workers.
The ideology of “white privilege” was brought forward to contradict the communist view that the white working class’s interests would be served by fighting racism, as it would break down the fabricated barriers that stop all of the working class from fighting together.
Some members agreed with us and have since been interested in reading Challenge. Small issues such as lack of commitment and attacks from  the administration slowed us down, but we continued to fight together and develop unity. The struggle continues with the skeptical teachers, but the few committee members who read Challenge agree with us on many points and consider themselves to be on our side.
Don’t fall for the bosses’ reform game
The bosses attempted to reform their racist policies by suggesting safe school programs such as comprehensive restorative justice, psychologists, therapists and counselors, and the Safe Passage program. However, through strength and determination, our committee pushed for the LAUSD to end this policy entirely.
Although a great victory for our students, it’s important to understand that reforms, no matter how progressive, will never eradicate the racist nature of this system. As long as capitalism remains, the need to criminalize and oppress working class youth will continue. In fact the bosses always seem to give us an inch to later cut off a mile, such that the next safe school policy they come up with may be more racist and fascist.
The education system itself is set up to teach youth to accept the bosses’ control or face dire consequences. However, this fight will not end until we take down the capitalist system and replace it with a better system for working people, a communist system that teaches the working class our history and science, and truly educates our youth, so that they can help build a better world for all. The struggle continues!

Article originally appeared on The Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party (http://www.plp.org/).
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