We are Bellingham Educators for Liberatory Action.
We envision education as a site of liberation and healing for all, specifically Black, Indigenous and students of color. Our work is rooted in community wisdom and builds from an abolitionist framework as we strive to dismantle white supremacy and intersecting systems of oppression.
BELA emerged as a group of educators and community members came together to join the movement toward police abolition, with specific focus on the harm that police cause within our schools. BELA is urging Bellingham Public Schools district leadership, school board representatives, and school administrators to remove police presence from our schools.
As school districts across the country have started taking steps toward the removal of police, we immediately began contacting our superintendent Greg Baker to voice our concerns and advocate for police-free schools in Bellingham. We have since compiled extensive evidence that supports the reasons for our demands. We have been part of multiple “listening sessions” and have shared our data and demands with school board representatives. We have been largely met with evasive responses and claims that our district has “already done the work.”
BELA knows that Bellingham is in no way exempt from the inherent racism and anti-Blackness that exists in policing, and we insist on envisioning an education system that is liberatory and free from harmful policing practices. While Bellingham has just one District Resource Officer (DRO), we urge Dr. Baker to reconsider staffing this position, and instead collaborating with community members and organizations to create safer schools.