Madison should kick police officers out of its public high schools, a school board committee is poised to recommend. Instead, they would be replaced by 20 more so “liaison” officers who would be called into the schools only as needed.
That recommendation by the ad hoc committee on Educational Resource Officers (EROs) will be considered at its final meeting 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, in the auditorium of Doyle Administration Building, 545 West Dayton St.
“We do not feel that having officers assigned to schools should in anyway be considered educational assets.”
The liaison officers would receive on-going training in school policies and would maintain “regular contact with all of our schools as opposed to just the four high schools and respond to emergencies if needed,” according to the committee draft.
These officers will have relationships with our schools for their entire careers and will also be able to develop relationships with our students just as our more exceptional ERO’s do now. These officers will not be permanently stationed in a school but have regular contact with all of our schools providing valuable current updates and information and will have received extra training about school behavior policies and appropriate interactions with students.
Police Chief Mike Koval responds
If MMSD’s school board votes to non-renew the contract for ERO’s, this would definitely diminish public safety in our schools and the Board will hear from the parents, students, staff, and teachers! Also, what would this do to delay response time on an active shooter?
Doubtful that kicking the EROs out of the schools will satisfy the social justice warriors who have been haranguing the committee with profane slogans for the last 16 months. They have declared war on the police and have waged that war at the Common Council, county board, and now at the school board level. That Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled for McDaniels auditorium and not the usual and smaller committee room is telling. Whether ad hoc committee chair Dean Loumos is willing to maintain order and allow all speakers to be heard is also doubtful. Your scribe was shouted down without a challenge from chairman Loumos. That is related here in Part #1 and with video in Part #2.
As for active school shooters, the ad hoc committee would rather “have responders come at the problem from the outside, especially where you have proper lock down procedures in place.”
Oddly, it appears the proposals will not be put to a vote of the 12 members, possibly for their own convenience. (“As our Ad-Hoc Committee on the Educational Resource Officers has not been granted the authority to make a final decision, we do not think it is necessary or prudent for us to take a vote as to whether MMSD should continue the ERO program.” Several members walked out while the social justice warriors (numbering an even 50) shouted down democracy at the last meeting and sprayed committee members with vile invective.
Lawyering up students
The committee also appears to propose lawyering up students prospectively. “EROs should not be the primary counsel for students on understanding laws, ordinances and the juvenile code. These trainings and educational modules should be conducted by legal professionals (lawyers) and not EROs.” Apparently, civics class has been replaced by criminal justice procedure.
Tell the Madison school board you want cops in schools
The ad hoc ERO committee found that “some people” believe police in schools provide a valuable service and should stay as is — “the idea that ERO’s are essentially social workers with guns.” But the Loumos committee “rejected the idea that social workers should have weapons as a tool.” One could easily reverse the equation: why can’t armed police use social work as a tool?
Instead, the committee listened to “some of our students who, just by the mere presence of the officers, feel unsafe and have difficulty relating to school as a result.” The committee draft provided no numbers as to how many were “some of our students.”
Regardless of the number, one could respond that is why school in the first place: to learn. Irony is that the WI State Journal just published a series of articles on the trauma of gunfire. If Madison’s daily newspaper encountered the trauma of police response — or mere presence — it went unreported.
In fact, the dog that did not bark is that the series found Police Ain’t the Problem in Madison. Shootings are.