Meet the Winners

Students Deserve

Students Deserve is a student-led organization that is dedicated to ending the racist and classist practice of “random wanding and metal detector searches” that is required in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Though every LAUSD school with students in grades 6-12 is supposed to conduct a daily weapons search on students, Students Deserve has seen that schools with larger numbers of Black students conduct searches more regularly than those with white students.

Students Deserve advocates for two main outcomes. First, the abolishment of random searches, which cause trauma and send the wrong message to students. Second, the implementation of community schools, which allow students to stay in their own communities and access more resources, including counselors, social workers, more arts and electives, restorative justice initiatives, and smaller class sizes. Over the past school year, Students Deserve distributed 18,000 buttons and flyers to students throughout LAUSD to start conversations about racism in schools and the support that students need and deserve.

Students Deserve is pushing school board members and superintendents to make real policy changes through meetings and community organizing. Over the past two years, student leaders have met with all seven school board members and presented to multiple key administrators. In response to their efforts, LA City Attorney Mike Feuer convened a Blue Ribbon Panel on School Safety. Through persistent and vocal leadership, Students Deserve are working to ensure that their voices and priorities are heard.