Cops in Madison schools, Part #2

Lesson #1 is Discipline

Fewer arrests don’t necessarily translate into safer schools
and racial disparity continues

Defining deviance down

I’ve read the statistics. Yes, student arrests in Madison’s public schools are down 22% over the last four years. Two possible reasons:

  1. That EROs are making headway.
  2. Or, discouragingly, because that is how MMSD defines success. Not helping students, but improving the statistics to prove that you are not Racist! That’s called Dumbing Deviance Down.

A member of your school board committee on Educational Resource Officers (EROs), Payal Khandhar, last night (02-21-18) reported that the Dane County District Attorney’s office thought EROs were “an easy target to blame.” Further, that if there is no criminal referral, Dane County’s extensive restorative justice programs and social services are not available to the student. The DA’s office also pointed out that vulnerable students targeted by school disrupters are more likely to report their victimization if EROs are inside the schools.

Ms. Khandhar related that some disruptions may not be recorded in the system. “Their [the DA’s] perspective was from the vulnerable and the victim. They felt that, after the 7th, 8th, or 9th fight, an MMSD response was not sufficient.”

The OIR Group retained by Dane County government concluded that police in schools:

Serve as a form of neighborhood officer in the best traditions of problem-oriented policing: developing constructive relationships, identifying potential issues, [and] creating unique informal restorative justice programs … to deter and prevent problems before they arise.”

Contrary to what the social justice warriors chant, Madison schools are NOT feeding the so-called “school to prison pipeline.” Dangerous, anti-social conduct does that. Defining deviance down will only delay the day of reckoning.

Get disrupters the help they need

I commend to MMSD’s attention to state legislation this week reforming the juvenile justice system and allocating $40 million to new county treatment centers for low-level offenders. Join me in encouraging County Executive Parisi and the County Board to create this resource so that Madison schools can expel more troublemakers, rather than fewer.

I rifled through your list of recommendations under consideration; 144 of them! (Moses hd 10.) Besides kicking the very symbol of Law and Order out to school, you’ve got:

  • Conduct a root cause analysis of violence in the schools
  • Set aside money for students of color who would decide what to do with it
  • Prohibit teachers from threatening ERO involvement during “behavioral incidents”
  • Do a deep MMSD survey for implicit bias
  • Facilitate a culture shift in high schools (whatever that means)

Here’s what’s not on the list: Respect authority and your classroom, quit fighting, learn discipline, embrace your education. And for Gawd’s sake, stop playing the victim!

By all means, try to understand what is bugging the miscreant. It is difficult to educate a student who has never been read to, who does not know his/her father, who is exposed to criminal activity where s/he lives.

But let’s get real. Is MMSD going to restore his family? Cure his mother’s alcoholism? Get her older brother out of prison? Rewrite the history of racism? No, but at least it can teach him or her to read.

This is the starting point: No Excuses. Everyone has a story, you’ve got yours, I’ve got mine and my tiny violin is at the shop for repairs.

This school has no time for losers. We DEMAND excellence. You WILL perform.

Lesson #1 is DISCIPLINE. Without it, you can’t shoot a three-point basket, play Stairway to Heaven, or find the hypotenuse of a triangle.

The union-dominated school board a few years back foolishly passed up he Urban League’s proposed Madison Prep, non-instrumentality charter high school. Kaleem Caire brought to Madison’s CUNA Center a delegation from a active charter school in Chicago. The young men, all African-American, were well spoken and sharp-looking in their school blazers.

The dean of students explained, “I discipline hard — but I love harder.”

After their appearance, the young men from Chicago toured the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

For further study: Chief Koval talks to Our Ms. Vicki about cops in schools

In case you missed it: Cops in Schools Part #1

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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