Health and Cultural Wealth: Student Perspectives on Police-Free Schools in Fresno, California

March 2021

We partnered with Fresno Barrios Unidos to create a research brief about the health harms of school policing and the public health benefits of investing in non-punitive supports for students.


This research brief, created in partnership with Fresno Barrios Unidos, intentionally centers the experiences and perspectives of students, who are most directly impacted by school policing. We evaluate the health impacts of divesting from police contracts and investing in healing-centered practices and spaces on school campuses in the Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) in Fresno, California by exploring the public health research on school policing and its alternatives, and by incorporating student voices via interviews with Fresno students on ways to best support their health, safety, and learning at school.

FUSD has a critical opportunity to join the movement for student wellness by removing police from Fresno school campuses. Given the experiences of students we interviewed for this brief, the hundreds of public comments submitted to Fresno City Council during the budget cycle, and the available evidence on school practices that harm student health and well-being compared to those that promote student health and well-being, we recommend that FUSD:

  • End Fresno Unified School District’s contract with the Fresno Police Department

  • Remove all police from school campuses in Fresno

  • Invest the funding from the school police contract into student wellness and support, including trauma-informed practices, restorative and transformative justice processes, and health and wellness centers, working in collaboration with students and community organizations

With this report and with the years of organizing that came before it, FUSD now has an opportunity to hear and respond to student perspectives, to prioritize the health of students in the district, and to invest in services that support and care for students.

To learn more about this research, contact Senior Research Associate Christine Mitchell at

Read the research brief