Black Lives Matter has come out against a new bill proposed by the New Jersey Assembly that compels schools to provide training to youngsters on how to interact with police and avoid confrontation.
According to a co-sponsor of the bill, Democrat Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver, the bill mirrors “The Talk” that many black parents have with their children, explaining the delicacies of dealing with the police in America.
“Look, I’m just trying to save lives,” said the Assemblywoman, a co-sponsor of the bill which passed in a 76-0 vote back in June.
Despite good intentions, however, the Black Lives Matter movement has expressed its opposition to the bill, claiming it would just create a scapegoat for police brutality, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
A lead organizer of a local Black Lives Matter chapter, Alexis Miller, calls the politicians to block the bill when it reaches the Senate, saying it puts pressure on people rather the police to behave accordingly.
The movement is also rallying its supporters to sign a petition addressed to New Jersey Senators, which so far got more that 1,300 signatures, to stop the bill.
“This bill is clearly designed to create a scapegoat for police brutality, and that scapegoat is New Jersey’s children,” Miller said. “It does nothing to address the laws already in place that protect the immense power of police departments. Students … children are expected to master the idea of respectability politics in order to protect themselves from officers.”
Miller added: “Everyone needs to understand that creating cordial bonds between officers and the community does not negate an officer’s authority to use force. It is simply an illusion.
“Our students should be in the classroom learning measurable subjects and our tax dollars should go towards STEM, the arts, and inclusive history.”
The co-sponsor of the bill, however, claims her proposed training for children would prepare youngsters of all races and ethnicities to deal with police officers.
“A lot of times kids want to know if they get stopped if they have the right to call their parents,” she said. “Can the police search their car? Do they have to get out of the car? … They have questions like these with the backdrop of being black and interacting with police. There may be a lot of fear instilled in them, a lot of potential panic.”
She added: “This is not a bill to teach kids to be subservient to police but to empower children, and ultimately adults, about their rights and their role in interacting with law enforcement. I think young people need to have their consciousness raised about these issues.”