No More Senseless Murders Like the One that Took the Life of Mona Rodriguez
“Manuela ‘Mona’ Rodriguez was a mother, a daughter, and a sister and she should be alive today. Instead, she was shot in the back of the head and murdered by Eddie F. Gonzalez, a school safety officer. The school district was right to fire Gonzalez, who murdered Mona, and the Long Beach Police Department’s investigation should result in murder charges being filed against him. Gonzalez did not fire in self-defense or to protect a life. He was criminally reckless and must be held accountable. The state of California should investigate and charge Gonzalez with murder as well.
“This tragedy is a reminder of the urgent need to rethink our approaches to safety in our schools and communities. Our schools need nurses, counselors, and social workers, not armed security or officers. Our neighborhoods need affordable housing, fully funded schools, parks, job training and conflict resolution experts, not armed, militarized police.
“Still, over the past three decades, U.S. cities have allocated larger and larger shares of their budgets toward law enforcement. Today, the U.S. spends over $100 billion a year on policing. More guns and more police do not promote safety, but they do put youth and families of color at particular risk.
“Mona Rodriguez was 18. She had her entire life ahead of her. One way to protect others from senseless shootings like the one that took her life is to invest in the supports young people need and the professionals who are trained to provide those supports, including counselors, social workers, and school psychologists. We can’t lose another young person senselessly to those sworn to protect them.
“The time to create school environments that can support, not criminalize students, is now. It’s time for police-free schools, de-arming the people at and around our schools and in our communities, and investing in alternatives that give all kids, particularly those who are most vulnerable, the opportunity to thrive.”