Statement of Briana O’Neal, member of Young Adults Striving for Success and Fyre Youth Squad


Good Morning. My name is Briana O'Neal and I am a member of YASS and FYS.   I have been a part of both New Orleans Public Schools and Recovery School District.  

Before the storm I was in NOPS and we would have never seen or heard of a 6-year-old being cuffed in school. Our first line of discipline if we got in trouble was our teachers, then counselors, disciplinary and then parents. The job of our two guards was to make sure no one came in the school to hurt us. 

After the storm, we were promised better schools and better school systems. I guess their idea of better is different from my idea of better.   

Here's a story to show you what it's like now: 

Picture this ... my niece was starting Pre-K when she was 5 years old. She was so excited that she could not sleep the night before. That morning she woke up at 4, 5, 5:30.  

She said, "It's time to go, come on, get up." 

I told her we have to wait until 6:30 and then we can leave.

She asked, "Can I ride on the bus?"

"Yes, you can!" 

"I can't wait. Today I start big girl school," she said.

The next thing I know its 9:00 and I get a call from the school, "Come get her. She wont go to class and she's crying." 

I get to the school and find her on the office floor crying saying, "I want my mom!"

I asked her what happened and she told me that she had to walk through metal detectors or in her words, "the big thing and they put the beeper all over my body and I had to take off my shoes and belt and they felt my hair."

In the time it took her to get off the bus all her hopes and dreams were crushed.

We need to change the way school police are used in schools. No more will we accept students being cuffed in our schools. It's not cool.