Protestors rallied outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Students and young activists protested outside the Salem-Keizer School District offices Thursday, June 18, urging the district to end three contracts with local law enforcement agencies that pay for 11 police officers in local schools.

About 100 people attended the rally, the latest action organized by youth group Latinos Unidos Siempre, which is leading a push to spend money that now pays police officers - about $1 million per year - on hiring more counselors and educators to work with students of color.

Many current students and recent graduates told personal stories of being suspended, expelled or arrested, often starting in elementary school. They cited the district's discipline data, which shows Latino and Black students are more likely than their white counterparts to be suspended and expelled from local schools.

Several carried signs calling the Salem-Keizer school board and board chair Marty Heyen racist for what protestors described as an ongoing refusal to meet with or listen to students of color about their experiences with discipline and law enforcement.

"Us people of color are in the school district and we won't stop until we get justice," said Alex Sosa Navarro, 15 a McNary High School student.

-Rachel Alexander

Protestors rallied outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter) Protestors rallied outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter) Alex Sosa Navarro holds up a sign during a protest outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)Mark Jones, of Salem, speaks during a rally outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)Protestors rallied outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter) Sandra Hernández-Lomelí, director of Latinos Unidos Siempre, speaks during a protest outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)Protestors rallied outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter) Protestors rallied outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter) A protestor holds a sign during a protest outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)Protestors rallied outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter) Protestors rallied outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter) Grecia Gomez, senior class president at McKay High School, holds up a sign during a protest outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)Protestors rallied outside of the Salem-Keizer school district offices on Thursday, June 18 to urge the district to cancel their contract for police officers in schools. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

SUPPORT SALEM REPORTER'S JOURNALISM - A monthly subscription starts at $5. Go HERE. Or contribute to keep our reporters and photographers on duty. Go HERE. Checks can be sent: Salem Reporter, 2925 River Rd S #280 Salem OR 97302. Your support matters.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.