Copping a deal: Graduation controversy doesn’t affect financial partnership between Elk Grove schools, county cops

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department to receive $2.9 million over one year

Last month’s graduation wardrobe malfunction involving the black teen evicted from his ceremony for wearing a traditional African garment drew tons of bad PR for the Elk Grove Unified School District (which ordered the removal) and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department (which facilitated it).

But it hasn’t altered the two groups’ long-standing arrangement.

On June 8, county supervisors were slated to extend a contract that allows the department to loan out 10 deputies and a lieutenant as school resource officers assigned to district schools for another year. The $2.9 million contract has grown to include additional schools and more officers since Elk Grove’s 2001 incorporation, a staff report notes.

Meanwhile, the official Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter has asked the district to discontinue the practice of putting cops in school settings and wants Cosumnes Oaks High School to apologize for kicking out graduated senior Nyree Holmes, 18, who refused a teacher’s orders to remove the kente cloth that originated in what is now Ghana. The group also wants the district to update the dress code policies that led to the initial confrontation, May 24, inside of Sleep Train Arena.

“The goal is to get [an apology] from the teacher that got the sheriffs to escort the young man out,” BLM Sacramento chapter lead Tanya Faison wrote in an email.

District spokeswoman Xanthi Pinkerton said the district’s secondary education division set a June 13 meeting with BLM Sacramento and other parties to discuss updates to the dress code policy for middle and high schools. But the group’s demand to revisit cops in classrooms was not on the table. “That isn’t what the meeting will be focused on,” said Pinkerton, who noted that the district had renamed the division that covers campus officers—from the “police services” to “security and safety” division.

Pinkerton said she was glad to meet with BLM Sacramento and dispel the negative reputation it has in some media circles. “It was good to see there was nothing to be worried about,” she said. “They’re a group that raises important issues.”