Exactly who is asking for cops out of schools
aside from the same small gaggle of anti-cop social justice warriors
who have disrupted the city council and county board?
Color us astounded. A committee of the Madison school board is poised today to recommend that cops be expelled from its four troubled high schools. This committee has been meeting for 16 months. During that time it has never consulted the school district’s coordinator of safety and security. He would be Joe Balles, a retired and much respected captain of Madison police. Joe is the school district administrator who works directly with the four EROs and with emergency responders “and any other threats that have the potential to impact school safety.”
Joe Balles confirmed to this blog that he was never contacted; never asked for his expertise. Not once! What does that tell you except that the fix was in.
The ad hoc committee on educational resource officers (EROs) meets at 4 p.m. today (Wednesday, July 18) in the auditorium of Doyle Administration Building, 545 West Dayton St. The committee is poised to recommend that four police assigned to each of the high schools be kicked out after the coming, contractually obligated school year. They would be replaced by 20 (pick a number!) “liaisons” who would somehow train with the school district but would be on call from outside the school campus. This is their proposal.
The Derail the Jail hooligans
At its last meeting in June, the same claque of social justice warriors who disrupted the city council and shut down the county board shouted their well rehearsed chants in an attempt to drown out the one speaker who spoke in favor of keeping police in our schools. When committee chairman Dean Loumos refused to demand order be restored, that speaker relinquished the floor. That speaker would be your Humble Bloggeur. That is related here in Part #1 and with video in Part #2
This afternoon David Blaska intends to speak for the full 3 minutes allotted citizens. Our attorneys have put the school district on notice that Blaska intends to be heard. He will stand at the podium until order is restored or the meeting adjourned. Hope you will join me.
We have these questions for the committee:
1. Your report says “some of our students who, just by the mere presence of the officers, feel unsafe and have difficulty relating to school as a result.” How many is “some of our students”? Five or six out of several thousand? I want a hard number. Or a percentage. 1 percent? 2 percent?
2. Why do these undetermined numbers of students feel unsafe with the presence of a police officer in their school? Do they have something to hide? Are they guilty of an undiscovered crime? Is the lone ERO in each of our high schools — each one of them a small village of several thousand students and staff — standing menacingly over the fearful student as he writes his essay exam?
3. You report that“some people” believe police in schools provide a valuable service and should stay as is — that “ERO’s are essentially social workers with guns.” But you “rejected the idea that social workers should have weapons as a tool.” Might one easily reverse the equation: why can’t armed police use social work as a tool? Has the district no social workers or guidance counsellors without guns?
4. The city of Madison sees police on a daily basis; patrolling the streets, walking their beats. Might school provide a learning opportunity to these fearful students?
5. Is this committee alleging that Madison police are engaged in race-based harassment of the populace (a finding supported nowhere else)? Certainly not by the City of Madison’s $376,000 OIR study.
6. Throughout the last school year, all four EROs were minorities. Three African American men and one Latino woman. Is this committee accusing them of racism?
7. The high schools at various times have been plagued by student brawls. Students and staff have been injured. Did the EROs cause these brawls or did they help resolve them? Can you say that the presence of EROs in the schools did not prevent more such outbreaks of student violence?
8. The ERO at La Follette disarmed a student who brought a loaded handgun into the school shortly after the Parkland, Florida massacre. How much more time would have elapsed had police been called from outside?
9. Arrests of students are showing a downward trend. Is a police officer called in from outside the school more likely or less likely to arrest a student than one who interacts every day with those students?
10. High school suspensions increased from 272 in the first semester 2015-16 and 275 in first semester 2016-17 to 325 in first semester 2017-18. How would removing EROs improve those statistics?
11. Do you actually intend to bring in the ACLU to instruct students on their criminal justice rights, as your proposal suggests?
12. On February 20, 150 parents concerned about the break-down in discipline met at La Follette H.S. How many of them demanded expelling cops from their school. What parent group, what PTO or PTA has asked EROs be removed? How many teachers? How many school principals?
13. This school district employs Joe Balles, former MPD captain, to coordinate safety & security. Former Captain Balles works directly with the four EROs. Yet this committee NEVER sought Mr. Balles’ input! Why did it neglect to do this due diligence?
14. Have you discussed your proposals with Police Chief Koval or any of his representatives? Why not?
15. Finally, Mr. Loumos, you have permitted a small group to disrupt and bully this committee for 16 months without demanding order or civility. You meet at 4 p.m. which precludes working people from attending as if the chaos wasn’t enough to deter citizen participation. You accuse the one speaker in favor of keeping the EROs in school of using “code words.”
Will you explain or apologize?