Public Counsel

Public Counsel: $75,000 for one year.

Public Counsel is the nation’s largest not-for-profit law firm specializing in delivering pro bono legal services. Over the last year, Public Counsel partnered with groups to ensure passage of policies that define the roles of school police and school administrators related to referrals to law enforcement, discrimination and disproportionality, and required alternatives and interventions to be utilized. With BOP, Public Counsel finalized a Memorandum of Understanding with Oakland Police Department to limit and define the role of officers working on school campuses, focused on reducing the disproportionate arrest and citation of youth of color, and required collection and public dissemination of data on arrests/ citations. They secured revisions to OUSD discipline policies which require suspension as a last resort, and focus heavily on school- and classroom-based alternatives, required regular reporting of discipline data, and secured improvements to the LCAP which governs the use of new state funding for the OUSD improvements focused on setting strong goals for the reduction of suspensions for African-American students. In the next year, Public Counsel seeks to end all suspensions for “willful defiance” which disproportionately affects students of color, monitor implementation of the recently negotiated MOU with the police, and push for changes in LCAP to remove funding for policing on campus and add funds to programs for youth success.