California Program Encourages Teachers, Social Service Workers to Report “Alienated” Youth to Government

by Vins
Published: Updated:

In 2018, the California’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) implemented a program, Preventing Violent Extremism, that targets teenagers who may be “alienated from their peers,” “troubled by injustice,” or suffering from “depression” or have “tendencies to extremism,” Ann Garrison reported in March 2020 for the Black Agenda Report. The California program, which is modeled on the federal Countering Violent Extremism program launched by the Department of Homeland Security under the Obama administration, “deputizes teachers to spy on them and recruits social service agencies to assemble dossiers on them while providing mental health services,” Garrison wrote, noting that “these kids are disproportionately Black and Brown.”

As Tracy Rosenberg, the executive director of Media Alliance, told Garrison, a coalition of thirty groups—including MPower Change (a Muslim grassroots movement), Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Media Alliance, Oakland Privacy, and the American Civil Liberties Union—has formed to oppose the program on the grounds that it violates students’ rights to privacy and their civil liberties.

The OES Preventing Violent Extremism program developed after the Mayor’s Office of the city of Los Angeles refused nearly $500,000 in Department of Homeland Security funds to implement a Counter Violent Extremism program in Los Angeles, on the grounds that the program would unfairly target Muslims. The OES pilot program provides grants to non-profit organizations. As Rosenberg told the Black Agenda Report, because the OES program relies on DHS funds, “in a sense it is just an outsourcing of the old CVE program.” Rosenberg likened the continuation of the DHS program under California’s Office of Emergency Services as “lipsticking the pig.” The coalition will continue to oppose program, under whatever name it’s given, because, in Rosenberg’s words these policies commandeer “desperately needed social support, educational support, and violence prevention programs,” turning them into “spying vehicles for rogue federal agencies that rely on racist stereotyping.”

A review of multiple online news data bases returned no recent corporate news coverage on this topic as of March 8, 2020. The San Francisco Bay View reposted Garrison’s article. In November 2018, Pacific Standard reported on the debate over whether Los Angeles ought to accept federal funding to surveil its communities.

Source: Ann Garrison, “California Flags Alienated, Idealistic Kids of Color as Potential Violent Extremists,” Black Agenda Report, March 4, 2020,
Student Researcher: Donovan Cagliero (College of Western Idaho)

Faculty Evaluators: Anna Gamboa (College of Western Idaho)